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Philip Hammond visits Argentina for trade talks

The Chancellor has become the first British Cabinet minister to go to the country in 16 years.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has become the first British Cabinet minister to visit Argentina in 16 years.

Mr Hammond said talks with president Mauricio Macri would consider “how we can deepen the UK-Argentina economic partnership”.

The trip is expected to focus firmly on trade rather than the thorny issue of the Falkland Islands, which Argentina continues to claim sovereignty over.

Tensions between the two countries have calmed under Mr Macri after flaring up under his predecessor Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was accused in 2015 by then-foreign secretary Mr Hammond of presiding over “bullying and harassment” of Falkland islanders.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The agenda is focused firmly on building economic ties and looking ahead to the G20.”

The Chancellor is leading a trade delegation including representatives from the London Stock Exchange, Crossrail International and the Bank of England.

Mr Hammond is the first UK Cabinet minister to visit Argentina since 2001, when Tony Blair called for further reconciliation after talks with then-president Fernando De la Rua near the border with Brazil, close to the picturesque Iguazu Falls.

The Chancellor will also meet senior ministers in Buenos Aires and visit British and local businesses driving trade and investment between the two countries, including in the Argentine agribusiness sector.

The Falkland Islands are internally self-governing, but Britain is responsible for their defence and foreign affairs and came to their aid during an invasion by Argentina in 1982.

In a 2013 referendum Falklanders voted overwhelmingly to remain a British overseas territory.

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