LATIN AMERICA AFTER 2 RAINCHECKS

Bolivia's Morales eyes off February bilateral talks with Macri over gas exports, train line

Bolivia wants to bring Argentina into the fold on plans to construct a 3,500 kilometre train line across Bolivia from the Brazilian port of Santos to the Peruvian port of Ilo. The project is valued at between US$10 billion and US$15 billion.

Bolivia President Evo Morales listens in on talks at the Mercosur Summit in Brasilia in December, 2017.
Bolivia President Evo Morales listens in on talks at the Mercosur Summit in Brasilia in December, 2017. Foto:AP-Eraldo Peres

Bolivia's President Evo Morales is hopeful he will finally sit down with his Argentine counterpart President Mauricio Macri in February, Morales said Tuesday.

Argentina has cancelled two scheduled meetings for bilateral talks with Bolivia since Macri came to office in December 2015.

The pair recently crossed paths at the Mercosur Summit in Brasilia where they were able to set another date, Morales told journalists on Tuesday.

“He said: Let’s arrange bilateral talks for February. Argentina has suspended them twice already”, Morales said. “He owes me a game of ‘futsal’ but he hasn’t gotten back to me”, he added, jokingly.

The last meeting between the pair, scheduled for November, was set to cover energy exports and economic integration, as well as “the railway corridor project (to link the Pacific with the Atlantic oceans), energy integration and the possibility of opening up banana, pineapple and palmetto exports” to Argentina, Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni said at the time.

TRAIN PROJECT, ENERGY

Bolivia wants to bring Argentina into the fold on plans to construct a 3,500 kilometre train line across Bolivia from the Brazilian port of Santos to the Peruvian port of Ilo. The project will cost between US$10 billion and US$15 billion.

La Paz is also keen on expanding energy exports, one of Bolivia’s key trade areas with Argentina.

The Andean nation exports between 14 and 16 million cubic metres of natural gas to Argentina each day. Relevant contracts stipulate that this is to increase gradually to 27 million cubic metres.

Bolivia is also keen on signing export deals for energy derivatives and electricity to Argentina.

-TIMES/AFP