BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Germany and Argentina have agreed on fostering multilateral trade and protecting the environment from climate change, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday during a visit to the South American country.
Merkel is visiting Latin America through a series of trips ahead of July's G-20 summit in Germany. The chancellor has criticized the U.S. protectionist stance and called President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate pact "extremely regrettable."
In a press conference with President Mauricio Macri, Merkel said both nations want to be part of an "interconnected world" and are committed to defending the Paris accord.
"No one alone in this world — no individual and no country — can solve all the problems alone," Merkel said. "We must all work together and we both advocate ... a free, open world in which we want to shape globalization in a humane way."
Merkel praised Argentina's potential for the development of renewable resources and said Germany could use its experience to help develop them. She also said the European Union should commit to reaching a trade deal with the Mercosur bloc of South American countries.
Last year, Germany ranked as Argentina's fourth-biggest trade partner after Brazil, China and the U.S. Merkel noted that her visit to Argentina comes after Macri helped Argentina end a legal dispute that returned it to international credit markets after nearly 15 years.
Argentina lost the World Cup soccer final to Germany in Brazil 2014. Macri, a former businessman and president of the popular Boca Juniors soccer club, said he hopes both nations meet again at the World Cup final in Russia 2018 "and I hope this time Argentina wins." Merkel chuckled and replied that so far they had agreed on everything, but not that.
The German leader also acknowledged Latin America's largest Jewish community, recalling the "terrible attacks" on the Israel Embassy and a Jewish community center in Argentina in the 1990s. She said Argentina offered a new home to many Jews fleeing the Nazis. Merkel visited a synagogue and said afterward that its organ, recently restored with German financing, symbolizes a bridge between the two countries.
Associated Press writers Almudena Calatrava in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.