MONTEVIDEO, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Uruguay plans to push for a free trade agreement (FTA) between China and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), the largest South American trade bloc, a top Uruguayan official said Wednesday.
At a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Uruguayan Foreign Affairs Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said "We are going to firmly promote this agreement," adding his country would "continue working on this matter and convincing its Mercosur partners of the importance of this issue."
Uruguay is open to "free trade with clear rules ... that satisfy the parties that take part in such agreements," said Nin Novoa. In the second half of 2018, Uruguay will take over the rotating presidency of Mercosur, which also gathers Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Also on Wednesday, Wang and Nin Novoa signed an agreement to extend visas for business travelers. Nin Novoa said that such accords are "not just about goods and services," but also include "very important" investment and cultural components.
During Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez's trip to China in 2016, both governments established a "strategic partnership" and agreed to consider the possibility of signing an FTA.
China was Uruguay's main export market in 2017, accounting for 28 percent of the country's total exports.