Despite EU and Mercosur countries remaining committed to reaching a trade agreement, the European Commission did not endorse the South American bloc’s target to reach an agreement by September, as substantial gaps remain between the two sides.
Uruguay will be handed the rotating chair of Mercosur this Monday in a brief summit ceremony to take place in Paraguay. Attending will be Brazil's Michel Temer, Uruguay's Tabare Vázquez, the host Paraguay Horacio Cartes and in representation of Argentina, vice president Gabriela Michetti. President Mauricio Macri is in the midst of a cabinet reshuffle and waiting for market reaction this Monday following the naming of a new Central Bank chairman.
The European Union and Mercosur have made some progress on how to open their markets to cars, but ended free trade talks in Brussels on Friday with finger-pointing about who was holding up a deal. The EU and the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay began on-off negotiations towards a trade alliance in 1999, with a fresh impetus since 2016.
European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan insisted there would be no deal with Mercosur unless negotiators are fully satisfied strong standards will apply to all produce. It comes as another round of the negotiations on Mercosur got under way in Brussels this week.
Argentine foreign minister Jorge Faurie met on Tuesday in Paris with his French peer Jean-Yves Le Drian to address current political and economic bilateral relations, as well as the latest advances in the Mercosur/European Union negotiations.