HELSINKI – Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez was on Monday in Finland as part of a two-day visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and promoting the construction of a new pulp plant in the South American country.
Vazquez was welcomed to the capital city of Helsinki by his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö, and greeted with a reception at the presidential palace.
Both leaders said the current international situation was marked by “significant uncertainty” due to the United Kingdom’s decision to pull out of the European Union and the rise in protectionism of United States President Donald Trump.
“The way to face this situation was to opt for free trade, fraternal relations between countries, the union of people, non-discrimination and respect beyond the geographical dimensions of countries,” the Uruguayan president told the media.
The Finnish president expressed his agreement with Vazquez, adding that smaller countries needed to unite during times of uncertainty.
Regarding the possible construction of a new Finnish pulp factory on Uruguayan soil, Vazquez said negotiations with forest industry company UPM were progressing in the first of three phases.
The pulp mill would be the largest private investment in the South American nation’s history.
The Uruguayan government was “very interested” in the prospect of a pulp plant being opened, the president said.
“We are working hard to solve the remaining issues and we have the firm hope that this investment will be made in our country,” he said.
During the visit, the Uruguayan delegation is set to participate in an economic and business forum with local politicians and industry representatives to attract investment in other sectors.
The Uruguayan president was scheduled to travel to Russia on Wednesday as part of a European tour, which had also included a stop in Germany.