Boris claims Latin America ‘fired up’ for trade deals

Following a five-day visit to Latin America Boris Johnson has claimed the region is excited for future trade deals with the UK.

Aerial shot of Rio de Janeiro
There is a “massive appetite” among Latin American countries for new trade and business links with the UK after the nation has left the European Union, according to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Future bilateral trade with the UK

Mr Johnson, on a five-day visit to South America, which included a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Argentina, claimed that many of the leaders he had met were “fired up” at the prospect of increasing trade with the UK.He said that, after meeting President Martin Vizcarra in Lima, Peru was “desperate” to do a “big, free trade deal” with Britain and, after becoming the first UK foreign secretary to visit Buenos Aires in almost a quarter of a century, said that “great progress” was being made to create a new relationship with Argentina.“The UK is open for business,” Mr Johnson said. “I look forward to a new chapter in our relationship, and booming trade prospects, after the UK leaves the European Union.“The relationship between the UK and Argentina has come a long way over the past few years and this visit will be an opportunity to build on and enhance ever closer co-operation on trade, investment, cultural ties, tackling corruption and organised crime, and increasing links in science and technology.”Speaking to reporters in Buenos Aires, Mr Johnson said he had had discussions with leaders from countries including Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru.“In Peru we saw a country that is desperate to do more business with the UK, that is fundamentally open to the world and, as a free-market administration under Martin Vizcarra, wants to do a big free trade deal with us,” said Mr Johnson.“We are here in Argentina where relations are improving and you will see tomorrow, when we go to see President Mauricio Macri, his determination to take relations with the UK forward.“There are big opportunities for UK business here. We don’t do nearly enough. There’s a low base, but we are going to build on it very fast. And in Chile it’s the same story – another economy that desperately wants to integrate more closely with the UK.“And I was talking to Luis Videgaray last night, the Mexican foreign minister who came to London the other day, and he said how desperate they are to do a free trade deal with us and how enthusiastic they are about Brexit. I’m getting a lot of that sort of mood around here. This is something that people are really fired up about.”
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UK trade with regional groups

Mr Johnson said that the UK would also be seeking trade links with Mercosur, a trade group covering Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose efforts to agree a free trade deal with the EU have been thwarted by opposition from European farmers who fear the gates would open to cheap produce from South America.“The UK is in the lead of calling for a campaign for global free trade and there’s a great deal of interest in us having closer links not just with individual countries but with regional groupings and Pacific groupings like Mercosur,” said Mr Johnson.“The overall picture is of a massive appetite in this part of the world for more engagement with the UK, for more trade, more political connections with the UK.”The UK currently provides only about one per cent of imports in goods and services to South American countries. Peru and Chile already have free trade agreements with the EU, which Prime Minister Theresa May hopes can be rolled over after Brexit.“Latin America is a vibrant and dynamic part of the world that works closely with the UK on a number of issues including trade, security, science, infrastructure and education, among others,” said Mr Johnson.After his Argentina visit, the foreign secretary moved on to Chile for meetings with President Sebastian Pinera and Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero.“UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is on a mission to Latin America to sell Britain after Brexit as a global trading nation just waiting for its chance to break free of the European Union and strike new commercial deals,” commented Bloomberg.For related news and features, visit our Enterprise section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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