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BUENOS AIRES, March 21 (Reuters) - Argentina will tell Brazil it wants to maintain a cap on Brazilian car imports for at least another year, the Clarin newspaper reported on Monday, dealing a blow to its neighbor's hope of liberalizing the trade.
"We understand that they want to begin the total liberalization of trade (in cars) this year. But we're going to propose the existing system be extended," Clarin cited Industry Secretary Martin Etchegoyen as saying.
Etchegoyen was not immediately available for comment.
Brazil's Trade Minister Armando Monteiro told Reuters in early February that South America's biggest economy needed to move toward free trade, helped by a sharp weakening of the real currency that has made Brazilian products more competitive abroad.
Days later, Monteiro's ministry said both countries have agreed to gradually move toward the free trade of cars and auto parts.
The current pact, which expires in June, permits Brazil to export $150 worth of cars for each $100 in autos it imports from Argentina without paying tariffs. There is also a cap on market share.
Argentina's plan will be put forward next Monday at a ministerial meeting in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, the paper reported.
Brazil and Argentina are important markets for automakers such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG , General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Chris Reese