June 6, 2019 / 5:14 PM / 11 days ago

Brazil's Bolsonaro says Mercosur will soon sign EU trade deal

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a credentials presentation ceremony for several new top diplomats at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday the Mercosur bloc of South American countries will soon sign a trade deal with the European Union, and he thanked Argentine President Mauricio Macri for his role in pushing for the commercial pact.

Speaking in Buenos Aires, Bolsonaro also asked Argentine voters to remain rational when voting in this year’s presidential election, saying nobody wanted “new Venezuelas” in the region - a thinly veiled dig aimed at former leftist President Cristina Kirchner.

In a Facebook Live transmission later on Thursday, Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said that closer ties between Brazil and Argentina would revitalize Mercosur, a group that Bolsonaro and others in his government have long criticized as an ideologically charged impediment to regional growth.

The governments of Argentina and Brazil are also negotiating the creation of a joint currency that could be called the “real peso” by combining the names of Argentina’s peso and Brazil’s real currency, a spokesperson for Argentina’s Ministry of Finance said.

“We are working on that in the medium to long term,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

The currency proposal could include Uruguay and Paraguay, the other Mercosur partners, according to media reports.

Reporting by Eduardo Simões and Nicolas Misculin; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Phil Berlowitz and Darren Schuettler

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