Major business encounter
European and Mercosur companies will hold next April a mega business round in Rio do Janeiro to promote trade and investments between both blocks.
The main areas of talks will be energy, agriculture and environment, according to the Rio do Janeiro Federation of Industries that is hosting the encounter considered the "largest businessmen gathering ever between the European Union and Mercosur". So far 81 European companies have registered and 400 from Mercosur but the final number is expected to be closer to a thousand when the meeting is held on April 10/12th. "It's not a program to promote European exports, but rather a business cooperation instrument, to help companies link permanently", explained Amaury Temporal Director of International Trade of the Rio do Janeiro Federation. According to Brazilian sources the country's trade with the European Union reached 34 billion Euros, services account for another 6 billion and direct investments in Brazil are equivalent to 19 billion Euros. "The European Union is a magnet for Brazilian companies", added Mr. Amaury. "The meeting targets joint investments and associations that go beyond a normal trade relation". Steffano Gatto, the European Union delegate in Brazil said that "Brussels builds the bridges, but it's up to the companies, particularly small and medium size companies, to make up the rest". Mr. Gatto anticipated that in the current situation there's a greater willingness from both blocks to reach a free trade agreement, and next May during the Europe Iberoamerica summit "probably Chile will be the first country to achieve it". "With Mercosur as a whole it could be slower but we're advancing faster than expected", concluded Mr. Gatto.