December 9, 2013
Malvinas trade mission arrives in Uruguay to fuel oil business
Amid tightening tensions between Buenos Aires and London over Argentina’s demands for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands, a British government trade mission landed in Uruguay to promote hydrocarbon activities.
“We brought Uruguayan companies the expectation we have about oil so that they can join the efforts to increase the Falklands’ economy in the next 3 or 4 years through the exploration and exploitation of oil,” British official Roger Spink said referring to the resource-rich archipelago as it is known in the UK, the Falklands Islands.
Spink told reporters that the oil business in the South Atlantic territorios “will involve a great variety of services, infrastructure and workforce.” “That is why we are here, to make sure we have partners in Uruguay and to take advantage from this opportunity, we want them to join exploration benefits,” he said as he praised bilateral trade ties.
“Uruguay has had trade relations with the Falklands (Malvinas) for 160 years and trade currently reaches 1.6 billion dollars annually. The purpose of this trip is precisely to increase business and fuel relations between both communities,” Roger Spink added with tourism also emerging as another step the British administration of the Malvinas Islands might seek to take. “We have to improve connections. In order to come to Uruguay, we have to go through Punta Arenas, in Chile. The political issue is a problem. But we must search for other options in the future,” he explained.
News about the trade mission to Uruguay not only comes at a time Argentina steps up the pressure on the UK to resume sovereignty talks denouncing as well British hydrocarbon activities off the Malvinas Islands coast for "illegal" and "clandestine".
Bilateral trade prospects between the Islands and Montevideo will be surely echoed by Buenos Aires that is battling a recent decision by the José "Pepe" Mujica administration allowing the UPM pulp mill to increase its production, a move that led Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman to announce that Argentina's anti-pollution claims will be taken to The Hague.