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Free trade and commerce First presidential visit to Argentina yields joint declaration

In addition to Mauricio Macri, pictured right, Doris Leuthard will meet with business representatives and members of the Swiss community while in Argentina

(Keystone)

During the first official visit of a Swiss president to Argentina, Doris Leuthard and her Argentinian counterpart Mauricio Macri signed an agreement aimed at intensifying economic and business relations between the two countries.

According to a statement from the Swiss transport ministry, which Leuthard also heads, the joint declaration signed by the Swiss and Argentinian presidents “outlines the state of bilateral relations and serves as a roadmap for expanding and deepening relations”.

Another main topic of discussion during Leuthard’s visit to Buenos Aires was a free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Switzerland is a member, and Mercosur, to which Argentina belongs. Negotiations on the agreement are expected to begin in the first half of this year.

The two presidents also talked about reinforcing cooperation in several other areas including science, justice, the environment and climate protection, as well as within the UN, where the two countries already work together on human rights issues.

On Thursday, Leuthard will meet with Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in Lima, where her presence will again constitute another first official visit of a Swiss president.

The Swiss of the southern hemisphere

This week, Leuthard will also meet with members of the Swiss expatriate community in Argentina. Currently, the nation is home to some 16,000 Swiss nationals, making it the largest Swiss expat community in Latin America.

Argentina is also the third most popular country in the region – after Brazil and Mexico – chosen by Swiss businesses for foreign investments.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/cl

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