Latin America cautiously responds UK decision to exit from EU

Latin America cautiously responds UK decision to exit from EU

The Common Market of the South (Mercosur).

We must not jump to conclusions."
Mexico City (ANTARA News) - On a day where the world was still trying to absorb the UKs decision to leave the European Union (EU), Latin American countries responded with a mixture of worry and cautious respect.

Mexican Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying "at this historic moment, Mexico remains determined to keep building on the excellent ties of friendship, the significant investment and trade ties, and the educational, cultural and technological cooperation that links it to the UK."

It also stated that, in 2015, bilateral trade rose to 4.312 billion U.S. dollars, making UK Mexicos 17th largest trading partner and sixth largest within the EU.

Brazil took a sterner stance, with a government spokesperson saying that the UKs exit deprived the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the regional trading bloc, of an important ally in its negotiations for a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the EU.

According to Daniel Godinho, secretary of foreign trade at the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services, the full impact is difficult to quantify but the UK was one of Mercosurs main allies in securing this deal.

"However, we will continue with this process by counting on other actors which support such a deal," he added.

In 2015, Brazilian exports to the UK rose to 2.9 billion dollars, accounting for 8.5 percent of the countrys exports to the EU.

Uruguay President Tabar Vazquez said Friday that the UKs departure from the EU will make it more difficult for the bloc to sign a FTA with Mercosur.

"We will continue working but this does complicate negotiations for an FTA between Mercosur and the EU," he said at a cabinet meeting Friday morning, where Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa confirmed that the two commissions working toward the FTA will continue their scheduled meetings.

Argentina expressed its "preoccupation" at the decision by British voters to leave the EU, said Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra Friday.

At a press conference, Malcorra admitted that "this is a decision of the British people and we cannot defy it. However, this is a strong indication that the world is undergoing a difficult moment, full of fear and isolation."

"Fears are worsening, this is a very worrying reality. The effects of the UKs decision. They are not clear to us but they have rattled the worlds institutions," she added.

For Chiles Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz, "We must not jump to conclusions. This is a complex issue, we must be careful and not succumb to nerves as can happen during such an important event.

Munoz spoke at a press conference after meeting with President Michelle Bachelet and said that "only about 1 percent of our exports go to the UK. We have to maintain a sense of proportion about what this means for our country."