Macri: “Mercosur is most closed trade bloc in the world”

Former Argentinian President Mauricio Macri (L) alongside Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

During a speech in São Paulo, former Argentinian President Mauricio Macri criticized what he called ‘excessive protectionism’ within Mercosur, the South American trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. 

“When we retake power in Argentina, we could open Mercosur up. Today, Mercosur is the most closed trade bloc in the world,” The Brazilian Report heard. Argentina will hold new presidential elections in 2023. 

During Macri’s presidency, the South American nation played an important role in negotiations for the Mercosur-European Union trade deal — something that the Jair Bolsonaro administration in Brazil tried to take credit for. 

During Friday’s event, Mr. Macri lamented the current disputes in the trade bloc, saying that “the advances of multilateralism are fundamental to global freedom.” His words were seen as indirect criticism of his successor Alberto Fernández, who is now the only Mercosur leader to be against the bloc’s liberal opening. 

In addition to quarrels with other group leaders, Mr. Fernández’s stances even led Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou to suggest that if the bloc keeps avoiding a more free-trade agenda, the country “will gladly go off by [itself].”