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Montevideo, November 19th 2017 - 03:20 UTC

EU and Mercosur “very close” to reaching an accord, says top European official

Monday, November 13th 2017 - 08:43 UTC
Full article 4 comments
”We’re that close to having a new trade accord between EU and Mercosur,” EC Commissioner Jyrki Katainen said, holding his index and thumb slightly apart. ”We’re that close to having a new trade accord between EU and Mercosur,” EC Commissioner Jyrki Katainen said, holding his index and thumb slightly apart.
Katainen spoke after talks with Brazilian President Michel Temer and the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay Katainen spoke after talks with Brazilian President Michel Temer and the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay
“At a time when some are building walls, we want to build bridges,” Temer said, as he stood with the ministers. “At a time when some are building walls, we want to build bridges,” Temer said, as he stood with the ministers.

The European Union and Mercosur are close to concluding a free trade accord after decades of fitful talks, an EU official said. “We’re that close to having a new association and trade agreement between EU and Mercosur,” European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said, holding his index finger and thumb just slightly apart.

 He spoke after talks with Brazilian President Michel Temer and the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, which together make up the founding members of Mercosur. Venezuela is a member of the bloc, but has been suspended, while Bolivia is in the process of joining.

“At a time when some are building walls, we want to build bridges,” Temer said, as he stood with the ministers. He was clearly referring to US President Donald Trump’s drive to construct a wall along the US border with Mexico.

The two sides are working hard to complete an agreement, at least at the political level, so that they can make an announcement during a ministerial-level meeting of the WTO in Buenos Aires next month.

Mercosur and the EU have been trying to negotiate a free trade accord for nearly two decades, but the process has been hampered by setbacks and the discussions were completely suspended in 2004. Talks resumed six years later with a commitment on both sides to sweeten their original offers.

Bones of contention include Mercosur exports of beef and ethanol to the EU.

Other touchy issues that remain to be settled include government procurement, certain agricultural goods and intellectual property rights, Brazilian officials said.

After Trump took office in January with his vehement stance against free trade accords, the EU went on an offensive in the opposition direction and in July sealed with Japan a political agreement similar to the one it is trying to close now with Mercosur.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • golfcronie

    France and Ireland will veto any deal as the agriculture and livestock deal will be bad for them.

    Posted 5 days ago 0
  • DemonTree

    So, the same EU that is apparently such a threat to British sovereignty will let Ireland veto a deal?

    I think they will find a compromise.

    Posted 5 days ago 0
  • darragh

    A hard border between the RoI and NI would be very bad indeed for Irish farmers (beef and dairy particularly), the UK doesn't want a hard border, the RoI doesn't want a hard border, the only people who want a hard border are the overpaid gravy-train riders in Brussels (and/or Strasbourg, wherever they are this week) and the only reason they want it is as a stick to beat the UK with, they don't give two dollops of cowshite for the RoI and any deal with Mercosur that allows the import of SA beef will be the nail in many farmers' coffins.

    DT

    The EU doesn't do compromises it only does diktats.

    Posted 4 days ago 0
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