Argentina wants Falklands Islands deal with UK after signing trade agreement with EU

Argentina wants Falklands Islands deal with UK after signing trade agreement with EU

01/07 - 18:59 - THE EUROPEAN UNION’s new trade deal with Argentina has fuelled a desire for the country to hold talks with the UK over the Falkland Islands.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie was a key player in the negotiations between the EU and South America, which will lower tariffs on a range of agricultural commodities from the Mercosur trade bloc. This includes beef, poultry, pork, sugar, cheese and honey, according to terms detailed by the EU on Monday. The EU has also agreed to reduce barriers on 82 percent of agricultural imports from the Mercosur bloc over a transition period of up to 10 years.

When asked if the bilateral agreement was his greatest professional success in 40 years of experience, Mr Faurie said: “Now I just need to recover the Malvinas Islands.”

Sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, which are also known as Islas Malvinas, has long been disputed by both Argentina and the UK.

But the islands were given full British citizenship in 1983, following the UK’s victory in the Falklands War.

Mr Faurie revealed how he would like to negotiate with the United Kingdom over the Malvinas Islands.

He told Radio Miter: “We have built, under the presidency of Mauricio Macri, a positive relationship with the United Kingdom, proving that we can work together, that we have an expectation of preserving peace.

“But it is time to sit down, to reach the negotiating table.

“I would be happy to know that we started conversations.”

He also described last Friday’s agreement with the European bloc as “a real milestone” for Argentina’s foreign policy.

He said: “It is much more than a commercial agreement: it is a strategic advance in the Argentine position on the international scene that reinforces the commercial agenda of our country and our bloc.”

Mr Faurie was also emotional when the landmark deal was agreed following 20 years of talks.

Holding back tears, he said on Friday: “We achieved an EU-Mercosur deal.” 

The EU and Mercosur, which was founded in 1991 by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, forms a market with 780 million people and a quarter of global gross domestic product, Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry said last week.

Brazilian exports to the EU last year came to around $42 billion, which was almost a fifth of total exports from the country, according to the ministry.