BRASILIA, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Brazil and Argentina have agreed to gradually move toward the free trade of cars and auto parts to bolster ties between South America's biggest economies, the Brazilian Trade Ministry said on Thursday.
Brazilian Trade Minister Armando Monteiro visited his counterpart in Buenos Aires to propose the free trade of vehicles, in a major policy shift for one of the hemisphere's closest economies.
A severe recession entering a second year is forcing the government of President Dilma Rousseff to open up the economy to help exporters benefit from a weaker Brazilian real.
Both countries "aim to achieve gradually and under fair conditions the free trade of cars," the trade ministry said in a statement.
Brazil was until recently one of the world's five biggest auto markets, and it remains a major base of operations for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. (Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Bernard Orr)