LatAm Daily Briefing: Argentina Mulls Border Reopening; Ecuador Seeks FTA with Mexico

25 August: Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update.

Posted mercredi, août 25 2021
LatAm Daily Briefing: Argentina Mulls Border Reopening; Ecuador Seeks FTA with Mexico

Argentina’s government could reopen the country’s borders to foreign tourists in September, according to Casa Rosada sources. "We have to keep advancing with the second doses [of Covid-19 vaccines] and next month, we will evaluate the entry of foreign tourists with both doses, starting with neighboring countries," a government source told the Noticias Argentinas news agency. Tourists from neighboring countries "would not need quarantine" upon arrival in Argentina, and by September, the country could be hosting mass sporting events and concerts, the source said.


Brazil will give booster shots of the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine to immunosuppressed or vulnerable people and citizens over the age of 80, beginning on September 15th, Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga was quoted by Reuters as saying on Tuesday. Queiroga said the decision stems from the spread of the Delta variant and the need to increase protection for more vulnerable people. Brazil has recorded more than 20.6 million cases of the virus and more than 575,000 fatalities linked to it. According to data from the Health Ministry, as of Tuesday 123.9 million people had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, or about 59% of the population.


Colombia’s President Iván Duque is seeking to attract South Korean investment into the country’s health, trade and 5G technology sectors, among others. "We are going to sign memorandums of understanding in areas such as health, industrial development to open more trade in Colombia in this country, and bring South Korean investment to Colombia,” Duque was quoted by local media as saying. “We are also going to sign agreements in health cooperation, in addition to strengthening ties in the development of creative industries and the fight against climate change," he added.


Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso is to promote the signing of a free trade agreement with Mexico during a visit to that country, where he will this week meet with his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Lasso, a right-wing former banker who took office in May, has expressed an interest in Ecuador joining the Pacific Alliance, which is made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and to open the country to free trade. The Ecuador-Mexico bilateral trade balance is traditionally in deficit for Ecuador, which in 2020 sold products to Mexico for $90.9 million and bought from it goods valued at $560.5 million. From January to June, Ecuadorian exports to Mexico totaled $74.7 million, while imports from Mexico totaled $334.7 million, according to Ecuador’s Central Bank.


Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Mexican congress member Mauricio Toledo, who is accused of illicit enrichment and is currently in Chile. In a statement, Mexico City Prosecutor's Office announced that, once notified of Toledo’s whereabouts by Interpol, it would request his detention by Chilean authorities. Toledo, whose immunity as a legislator for the left-wing PT party was removed earlier this month after he was formally accused of illicit enrichment, has protested his innocence, claiming that he is being politically persecuted by the Mexican government, and that he would remain in Chile to face justice amid his lack of belief that justice would be done in his native Mexico.


Peru’s government has authorized the payment of 350 soles (about $85) to 13.5 million vulnerable people, as part of its strategy to boost household economies affected by the pandemic, The funding totals 5.14 billion soles (about $1.25 billion), and was announced through an emergency decree on Tuesday. The measure seeks to reduce the negative impact of the health crisis on the economy of households in poverty and in extreme poverty, whose income does not exceed 3,000 soles per month (about $720). In contrast to the bonus given on two previous occasions by the previous governments, which was 700 soles ($170) per vulnerable household, the new subsidy will be paid on an individual basis.