Mercosur and Canada re-launched discussions for a possible trade agreement this week, following a meeting of technical delegations in Argentina, which currently holds the chair of the South American group, and hosted the round of talks.
Mercosur and Pacific Alliance foreign ministers are scheduled to meet this Friday in Buenos Aires, on an Argentine initiative to advance in a possible political and trade confluence with the prospect of a regional alliance in the near future. The controversial Venezuela case will also be on the table, but attendants have anticipated that they won't let this issue dominate the agenda or cast a shadow on the purpose of the summit.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro seems to have blown up the last bridge to Mercosur when he launched a barrage of accusations against Uruguay's foreign minister which triggered an immediate reaction from president Tabare Vazquez, who demanded evidence of the charges or a public retraction from the embattled Maduro. But the conflict has also openly exposed the deep rift inside the Uruguayan ruling coalition regarding the Bolivarian revolution “anti imperialist” regime.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is pushing to have meat removed from the proposed trade deal between Europe and Mercosur in the wake of Brazil’s meat scandal. The move could scupper the entire trade deal given the importance of the meat industry to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Ambassador in Argentina Mark Kent said that the UK process of leaving the EU will be slow and in the meantime as it opens to new alliances, new markets, Britain will be looking for closer relations with Argentina, and Mercosur, not geared by protectionism but rather the opposite, an inclusive globalization.
The adulterated meat situation in Brazil is no obstacle for the current trade negotiations between the European Union and Mercosur, said Eidta Hrdá, Managing Director for the Americas from the European External Action Service, currently in Buenos Aires.
First vice-president of the European Union Parliament Irish lawmaker Mairead McGuinness has asked EU Commissioners for agriculture and trade for clarity on allegations that Brazil has sold meat that is unfit for consumption.
European Union has insisted Brazilian representatives attend an emergency meeting to explain themselves regarding a scandal involving rotten meat and the country’s two largest exporters, JBS and BRF. Brazil has already announced that the 22 plants (out of over 4.000) allegedly involved in the scam have been closed.
Brazil's top public prosecutor seismically expanded a corruption probe of the country's political establishment on Tuesday, asking the Supreme Court to open 83 new investigations of politicians named in explosive plea bargain testimony. Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot also requested that the Court send 211 other requests to lower courts based on much-anticipated testimony by executives of engineering group Odebrecht implicated in Brazil's biggest-ever graft scandal.
Mercosur expects to sign a framework accord this year for a trade deal with the European Union as the U.S. shift to isolationism under President Donald Trump encourages it to look outside the hemisphere for opportunities, Brazil's foreign minister Aloysio Nunes said on Tuesday.