Today, Foreign Minister Felipe Solá met with Pablo Rodriguez, the government leader of the Canadian House of Commons, who was joined by the Canadian ambassador, David Usher.
During the meeting, Solá and Rodriguez discussed the priorities of the bilateral relation between both nations and the possibilities for progress on a common agenda, especially in relation to investments and trade.
They both agreed on the importance of making progress in the ongoing negotiations for a future MERCOSUR-Canada agreement. There have been seven rounds of negotiations so far, and the next one will take place in late March and early April. MERCOSUR's proposal is one of the most ambitious ones in terms of goals, given that it includes not only goods but also services and investments.
At the meeting, which was also attended by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Pablo Tettamanti, the Chief of the Private Office of the Foreign Ministry, Guillermo Justo Chaves, and the Undersecretary for Foreign Policy, José Pérez Gabilondo, the level of investments by Canadian companies in our country, particularly in the sustainable mining industry, was analysed.
In addition, officials from both countries discussed regional issues, especially the situation in Venezuela and Bolivia, as well as the different possible outcomes of the election process for the next Secretary General of the OAS, to be held this year.
The election of the next President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) was also discussed. Argentina asked for support for the candidacy of the Argentine Secretary for Strategic Affairs, Gustavo Béliz, for that position.
Lastly, both delegations highlighted the friendly environment and dialogue between both governments. In this respect, ambassador David Usher invited President Alberto Fernández and Foreign Minister Solá to Canada on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Canadian government leader who was welcomed by President Alberto Fernández and also met with the President of the House of Deputies, Sergio Massa, was born in Tucumán, Argentina, and was exiled along with his family during the last military dictatorship. In late 2019, he was appointed by the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to lead the Liberal Party of the House of Commons, the lower house of the Canadian Parliament.
Canada is an important trade partner for Argentina. Bilateral trade totalled USD 1 billion in 2019, and Argentine exports amounted to USD 654 million. In addition, Canada is one of the main investors in our country, especially in the mining sector.
The PDAC 2020 Mining Convention, the world's most important convention on mining, is being held in Toronto. The Undersecretary for National Affairs of the Argentine Foreign Minister, Fernando Asencio, travelled to Canada to represent Argentina along with the Secretary for Mining, Alberlto Hensel, the Governor of Catamarca, Raúl Jalil, and other national, provincial and municipal authorities.