BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on Monday in Buenos Aires to discuss bilateral economic and security cooperation, along with the G20 agenda for 2018.
“The US is committed to our joint economic and trading relationship with Argentina. We see many, many areas for continuing to grow this relationship,” said the top US diplomat after meeting with the Argentine leader, according to US government officials.
The 40-minute meeting, attended by other officials including Argentine Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña, Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie and Argentine Ambassador to the US Fernando Oris de Roa, was held at the Olivos presidential residence, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, on the third and last day of Tillerson’s official visit to the South American nation.
According to the Argentine government, the two men analyzed “the main issues” on the bilateral agenda and Tillerson transmitted to Macri the “kind regards” of US President Donald Trump.
The meeting, after which the parties made no public statements, included the discussion of issues of mutual interest in the economic, trade and security sectors, but also the regional situation and the agenda to be discussed at the G20 summit this year, with Argentine occupying the group’s rotating presidency.
“‘President Macri is leading #Argentina to a future of a long-term foundation for greater prosperity,’ says @StateDept #RexTillerson. We look forward to working with them this year during #G20Argentina and beyond,” said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Twitter.
Due to their past careers as businessmen, Macri and Trump have known each other for years and both have said, when they officially met in Washington and by telephone, that there is great cordiality between them and good relations between the two countries.
However, in recent months, considerable controversy has arisen due to the tariffs of up to 72 percent imposed by the US on Argentine biodiesel, something that Faurie said – at a Sunday press conference after meeting with Tillerson – his country is eager to resolve.
Also discussed by Tillerson and Faurie was the need to implement actions aimed at ending drug trafficking and terrorism, along with the possibility of imposing oil sale restrictions on Venezuela as a way to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to return to a “constitutional regime.”
However, Tillerson said it was essential to analyze how such sanctions might impact on the Venezuelan people and other countries in the region to be sure that they would not have a “negative” effect.
Tillerson will conclude his visit to Argentina on Monday and head to Peru, the next stop on his Latin American and Caribbean tour.