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US$32M in Uruguayan goods blocked in BA

A file photo that shows containers at the Buenos Aires port.

Relationship between both countries ‘will never be the same,’ says neighbouring Industry Minister

Uruguayan Industry, Energy and Mining Minister, Roberto Kreimerman, yesterday said his country would try to settle disputes with Argentina in order to reestablish trade relations — but he also recognized Uruguay’s relationship with Argentina will never be the same.

The official explained that even though Uruguay has adopted an attitude of negotiation regarding the trade barriers erected by the neighbouring country, “bilateral trade will never return to previous levels.”

This happens “not only because of the things Uruguay may be able to negotiate, but also due to Argentina itself, which is going through a tough time,” Kreimerman expressed.

“Industries are clearly suffering. We should be able to recover the commercial relationship” between both countries, the official added.

US$32 million at stake

Kreimerman — who has been appointed as head of the Industry, Energy and Mining ever since the beginning of the José “Pepe” Mujica national administration in March 2010 — also revealed there were US$32 million in Uruguayan goods stuck at Argentine customs.

However, the possibility of adopting similar measures towards Argentine products was discarded.

“Almost every country discards mirror measures (as a way of response),” the official told local newspaper El País.

“We have more to lose than to win with these kinds of mechanisms.”

All in all, Uruguayan industries had been hit by commercial restrictions imposed across the River Plate, the official added.

“It is clear that there are industries that are suffering and we must be able to recover trade — basically paper, clothing and foodstuffs, which are difficult because (in Argentina) there is greater domestic competition,” he said. “Businesses that are still exporting to Argentina do not have many alternatives now.”

However, Kreimerman decided to play down his criticism.

“There are not too many problems and we still have good autopart exports,” he expressed.

‘An obstructed relationship’

Also yesterday, Mujica said the relationship with Argentina was “obstructed” and criticized the country for isolating itself from trade.

Argentina “has the right to have a project like we had in the 1960s,” Mujica said, but this only leads to the country to “close itself off” economically.

The head of state defended Uruguay’s decision to be a “broadly open country” compared to Argentina’s increasing protectionist trend.

“It’s crazy to think of Uruguay as a self-sufficient country,” the head of state told Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

“No country — neither big nor small — can actually do it.”

Regarding the ongoing conflict between both countries following Mujica’s authorization for the UPM-Botnia pump mill to increase its production, the president said he took that decision because it was important for his country.

“I’m obliged to fight (for things like this) for my country,” Mujica said.

He also played down Argentine criticism of the mill’s alleged high levels of pollution.

“They (also) have pulp mills — and they need to change them, because they are from the stone age,” Mujica said. “It’s those plants that damage the environment.”

The Uruguayan leader ended by saying that the current political crisis of the administration led by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was “stronger” than previous conflicts.

Herald staff with DyN

20 DICATORSHIP VICTIMS FOUND IN 2013

Anthropoligical teams last year identitied over 20 bodies belonging to victims of the last military dictatorship, the state-run news agency Télam reported yesterday. The identification began in February with the bodies of Juan Oscar Cugura and Tránsito González in unmarked graves at La Plata cementary in Buenos Aires province. Both were members of left-leaning activist groups.

Oher identified bodies included those of victims in Tucumán, Salta and Santa Fe and province, as well as of four Spanish migrants killed in Buenos Aires province, and that of the Cuban diplomat Jesús Cejas Arias, who had been kidnapped on August 9, 1976 in the City neighbourhood of Belgrano.

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