Monday, February 29th 2016 - 09:31 UTC

Uruguay prepared to lead Mercosur/EU trade negotiations during the whole year

Uruguay, now with the support from Argentina, is very much interested in advancing with the cooperation and trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, and is planning for president Tabare Vazquez to attend a Brussels meeting with EU officials to emphasize the matter.

President Vazquez (R) and foreign minister Nin Novoa are expected to lead the Mercosur negotiating team to Brussels next April

In the meeting with Hollande, the French leader said he was prepared to support talks, but warned that agriculture continues highly sensitive for Paris

The government of president Macri has also anticipated it will bring its proposal in line with those of the other Mercosur members involved in the trade negotiations

 Uruguay which currently holds the Mercosur chair is enthusiastic about advancing the agreement since there is now a clear determination from the four members (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) to move ahead, and French president Francois Hollande during his brief visit last week to Montevideo pledged to support talks, although as usual recalled that agriculture remains a 'highly sensitive' issue for Paris.

With this scenario and since the fifth Mercosur member, Venezuela, is still in the process of incorporation to the group, and trade negotiations with the EU date back to 1999, Uruguay will propose to its peers that during the following six month period (beginning next July) Montevideo continues with the negotiations, and at the end of the current year, they are handed over to Argentina.

This means that the alphabetical rotating chair will be occupied by Venezuela, but the business with the EU will continue in the hands of Uruguay.

During the first week of March, EU technical negotiators are scheduled to visit Montevideo to advance in the proposals that should be exchanged with the EU sometime later this year. The proposals refer to the tariff reductions in the different areas, and timetable, to which both sides are prepared to accept, and will be analyzed before their formal presentation.

On 8 April Uruguay's foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa is scheduled to meet with the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malsmtröm, and Montevideo believes that to give the issue a greater sense of willingness and urgency, President Vazquez could lead the delegation and also meet with other EU officials.

“We need to open new markets to sell the Uruguayan production, so that we can ensure economic activity and jobs”, has repeatedly underlined president Vazquez who is facing a strong slowdown of the Uruguayan economy.

“We are looking to India, China and the Pacific Alliance, and I have plans to travel to those countries to promote trade and investment” underlined Vazquez.

Also last Thursday at a meeting with his French peer Hollande, (the second of the heads of state in four months), in Montevideo, Hollande said he was prepared to advance EU/Mercosur negotiations but “with a special vigilance over agriculture and the audiovisual sector”.

As it is well known, farmers' lobbies in France are most powerful, and Paris is also concerned about French language, and fears the advance of 'Hollywood English' on French culture, thus its reluctance to be pushed on these issues. In agriculture it also has the support from Ireland and some central European countries.

Finally the administration of president Mauricio Macri which under Cristina Fernandez privileged domestic production and jobs over trade, has changed the stance and has anticipated its proposal will be in line with those of Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. In the latest Argentine proposal, under Cristina, the tariff reduction process had to take fifteen years.

The message was transmitted by Argentine vice-president Gabriela Michetti, who last Friday make a quick one day visit to Montevideo to meet Vazquez and other political leaders.

7 comments Feed

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1 L0B0MAU (#) Feb 29th, 2016 - 12:02 pm Report abuse
The farmers from the 1st world countries mostly depend upon the subsidies and protections from their governments / blocks.

Instead; they should be given subsidies & incentives - not only by their own govts. but also by the govts. in South America - to cultivate the lands in the Underdeveloped Americas where the farming areas are much bigger, the costs of farming & living are much lower than Europe and the climate is more suitable for farming during longer periods [throughout a year].

This can create a win-win situation for the concerned countries and will promote mutual growth.
2 merlin (#) Feb 29th, 2016 - 01:05 pm Report abuse
And it really could and should happen.
Unfortunately Latam is full of countries which exist more or less in name only,if the UN had ,as it should have,produced a list of Nations by degree of Sovereignty then all that could be said of them is that they would,on average,be marginally better than similar African pseudo-nations.
If you want external investment there is loads of it out here and available,but it's owners are not going to pour it into some sort of political black hole.
Try generating accurate voters rolls and conducting free and fair elections,remembering that modern states are not governed by colour,class,creed or tribe.
3 Briton (#) Feb 29th, 2016 - 08:25 pm Report abuse

lets hope that the unmighty EU is still around to trade with next year..
4 Skip (#) Feb 29th, 2016 - 09:20 pm Report abuse
“The farmers from the 1st world countries mostly depend upon the subsidies and protections from their governments / blocks.”

Not all countries L0B0MAU, but yes Europe and the US do excel at this. The problem is that people see farmland as a bastion of sovereignty hence why English has a saying 'selling the farm'.
5 merlin (#) Feb 29th, 2016 - 10:50 pm Report abuse
What happens is that we lower the tariffs on their agricultural produce,produced with a labour cost lower than slavery,but they keep their tariffs sky high on anything from us from Benzes to electronics and services.
They really have to learn that the so-called wealthy nations are not particularly anxious to relinquish their status,but on the other hand,its a club anyone can join,with patience and application.
Plus stability and very near zero corruption.
If you cant afford the subs you cant join the clubs,as my old guv'nor once said.
6 BM (#) Mar 01st, 2016 - 12:19 am Report abuse
unfortunately the lefties that rule Uruguay are totally inept they cant even collect from the streets they bankrupted the oil company public education and security have deteriorated badly. What is even worst most of the population is seriously retarded 55% voted the clown Mujica. forget Uruguay they will continue their siesta for decades
7 Briton (#) Mar 01st, 2016 - 08:01 pm Report abuse
Perhaps a miracle will happen.

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