Argentina President in Brazil Looking for Inspiration and Money

Presidents Cristina Kirchner and Lula The President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, traveled this Saturday, September 6 to Brazil, in order to consolidate the strategic integration alliance between Brazil and Argentina and hopefully return with investments and inspired by the dynamic spirit of Latinamerica's largest economy.

On Monday, Kirchner will meet President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and is scheduled to sign a US$ 200 million credit extended by the BNDES (Brazil's Economic and Social Development Bank) specifically for Argentine infrastructure projects and export promotion.

This is the first time the BNDES participates in the financing of non Brazilian companies and is seen as a crucial step in the integration process as well as helping Argentina to level the growing trade deficit (US$ 4 billion) with its neighbor.

"Brazil is a partner and not a competitor, but we must seek a balance and avoid distortions," underlined Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province who together with Foreign Affairs minister Jorge Taiana and Federal Planning minister Julio De Vido are the core of the Argentine delegation.

On Sunday President Cristina Kirchner will be the guest of honor of Brazil's Independence Day celebrations and she will see the military parade next to President Lula.

But the agenda will concentrate on trade and investment. Mr. Taiana and De Vido will have to face the complaints of Brazilian corporate representatives eager to invest in Argentina but who face mounting bureaucratic hurdles and the overall uncertainty atmosphere which looms over the country's political situation.

Another issue is replacing foreign currencies for the Argentine peso and the Brazilian real in bilateral trade operations, which has apparently been tested successfully.

Energy, defense and nuclear cooperation issues as well as some recent political incidents when the "strategic alliance" did not function as expected are certain to be in the agenda, particularly the Bolivian supply of natural gas (to both countries), which is threatened by strikes and political turmoil.

Lula visited Buenos Aires last February and it was then agreed to hold these mini summits every six months.

Mercopress

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