Saturday, March 27, 2010

Argentina Chile study tour day four

Wednesday March 17 2010

Today we visited the Standard Bank Foundation and learned all about trade issues from the perspective of Felix Pena, a lawyer who had headed the Argentine delegation in various trade negotiations. We reviewed a lot of facts and charts about imports and exports (Argentina exports a lot of beef -- it would export more if it did not tax beef exports) and then had a great discussion about trade policy. We learned that Argentina's priorities for the coming years are to promote the Doha Round of tariff reductions (especially regarding agricultural issues), build stronger ties through Mercosur (Southern Cone trading bloc that also includes Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and initiate discussions between Mercosur and the EU.

In the afternoon we had to say goodbye to our wonderful Argentine guide Shirly Kalush (pictured here) and headed off to Santiago Chile. Chile's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. To keep pests and diseases away, all incoming passenger luggage is screened. A few of us had close calls with those apples from the breakfast buffet that we had stowed away for a late afternoon snack.

As one might expect, everyone is Irish today and most students sought out Irish pubs in Santiago. It was my birthday, made extra special because of a card from the students and their gift of a Maradona soccer shirt.

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