Interest in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and Japan has gained strength after the recent tour of the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, through the region, which included official meetings in Brazil and Paraguay. .

During his stay in Brazil, Kishida met with President Lula Da Silva, expressing his willingness to strengthen relations with the regional bloc and take economic cooperation to a new level. In response, President Lula requested a balance in trade relations and advocated opening the Japanese market to the import of Brazilian meat, currently restricted for health reasons.

The Japanese Prime Minister subsequently visited Paraguay, where he met with President Santiago Peña, who expressed a fervent desire to move towards an FTA with Japan. This possible agreement becomes relevant amid other recent agreements, such as the one signed with Singapore and the one under negotiation with the United Arab Emirates, while the Mercosur-European Union agreement is still in process.

Santiago Peña stated: “We are determined to integrate into the world hand in hand with our allies and we see Japan as a very important ally.” In addition, Kishida highlighted the expectations of Japanese businessmen about investment opportunities in Paraguay and underlined the importance of Paraguay as an indispensable partner for Japan.

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During his visit to Paraguay, the Japanese prime minister also met with the Nikkei community, which has played an active role in the country for 88 years. Kishida expressed his gratitude towards the brotherhood between both countries and highlighted the contributions of the Nikkei community in various fields, such as politics, commerce and engineering.

The prime minister announced the continuation of training programs, sending volunteers and teaching the Japanese language, as well as the launch of a new exchange program for Latin America and the Caribbean, with the aim of exchanging approximately 100 people in the next three years .

Kishida also recognized the contributions of Japanese immigrants to agricultural production in Paraguay, highlighting their role in the introduction of crops such as soybeans and wheat, which have contributed to the country’s self-sufficiency and made it one of the main exporters of these products worldwide.


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