January 28, 2016 / 8:21 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil seeks free auto trade with Argentina - paper

(Adds comment from trade minister, industry forecast)

BRASILIA, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government will propose the full liberalization of vehicle trade with Argentina from July, newspaper Valor Econômico reported on Thursday.

Brazilian Trade Minister Armando Monteiro will travel to Buenos Aires in February to make a formal offer, Valor added, without saying how it obtained the information.

The Brazilian and Argentine governments did not respond to requests for comment.

Brazil’s auto exports may rise between 10 percent and 15 percent this year, Monteiro forecast in a speech on Thursday, according to the ministry’s official Twitter account.

Car and truck exports rose 25 percent last year after a 41 percent plunge in 2014, according to Brazilian auto industry association Anfavea, which forecasts an 8 percent rise in 2016.

Officials in Brazil and Argentina are already working on a potential deal, which was discussed by their finance ministers last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Valor said.

Brazil also plans to propose a deal to allow companies from both countries to participate in public tenders under the same conditions as local firms, Valor reported.

The two states have imposed quotas on bilateral automobile trade despite being major partners in the South American trading bloc Mercosur.

Brazil and Argentina are among the region’s most protectionist countries but are moving to open their economies.

Argentina’s recently elected President Mauricio Macri has vowed to reduce trade barriers with his country’s key trading partner.

His Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, is aggressively trying to open up new markets abroad in an attempt to revive an economy mired in its worst recession in nearly 30 years. (Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Additional reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Andrew Roche and Sandra Maler)

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