Leaders from South America's Mercosur trade bloc met Wednesday in Argentina to discuss how to fast-track their new free-trade deal with the European Union.

The presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay appeared together in the city of Santa Fe, in Argentina's Pampas grain belt, less than a month after agreeing to the landmark agreement with the EU.

The deal, which has been two decades in the making, marks a rare win for free trade amid rising global protectionism, although it still needs to be ratified, in principle, by the multiple national parliaments involved. Mercosur leaders indicated they were eager to find a way to speed up implementation of the deal.

Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo reports from Mendoza Province.

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