Chile and Canada open talks for increased agricultural trade

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An agricultural trade mission, which saw Canadian MP Lawrence MacAulay visit Chile and Argentina recently, has proved successful as the South American countries continue to enhance their trade links across the world.

According to The Guardian, the Canadian minister attended talks with a number of executives in the Chilean retail industries that are connected with the supermarket chain Jumbo as well as attending a pork and beef event in Santiago. In Argentina, he attended meetings with agricultural experts and brought together Canadian companies operating in the area to discuss the potential ways in which agricultural business can be improved. The minister also highlighted that Argentina had recently eased import regulations for Canadian business.

Chile has benefitted from good bilateral relations with Canada and has also recently celebrated the twenty year anniversary of the Canada-Chile Free Trade agreement in 2017. The relationships between the two countries continue to strengthen as well as seeing over 104,000 tourists visit Chile from the northern nation in 2017 alone. Bilateral relationships are similar with Argentina, who alongside Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil form part of the Mercosur trading bloc, the largest economic partnership in Latin America. Collectively the bloc has a GDP of $2.9 trillion, whereas in comparison to the second largest organisation known as the Pacific Alliance which boasts a GDP of $1.8 trillion and is made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.  

The new wave of trade deals across the world appears to chime with growing apprehension towards the United States and its continuing trade spats affecting both international companies, as well as national ones. As Twitter continues to be filled with un-diplomatic threats from the American President, countries such as China are capitalising on the void that the United States is leaving behind by reaching out to South America to secure future prosperity between the nations.

A similar string can be seen with Canada, amidst ongoing discussions which could jeopardise the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that involves the USA, Canada and Mexico. What governments increasingly appear be looking towards are South American countries that boast a wealth of economic and business opportunities – Brazil, Chile and Argentina were ranked top export countries for 2017 – as well as globally growing markets.

The recent emphasis that Canadian officials are placing on trading with South America is just one of a number of partnerships that are beginning to gain more momentum. Recently, Mexico signed a new trade deal with Argentina to secure more grain imports, and at the same time, Brazil and Chile recently also signed a free trade deal. Mercosur also recently welcomed Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore as associate countries to the trading bloc, as the climate of searching for trading allies across the globe continues to escalate.