Bilateral negotiations for a trade agreement between Mercosur and European Union delegates are scheduled to resume Tuesday in Asunción, Paraguay.
This is the fifth round of discussions since negotiations were re-launched May 2010 during the Latin America-Caribbean-European Union leaders’ summit that took place in Madrid.
Negotiations in Asunción are expected to last the whole week and will take place in a quiet residence, Quinta Ykua, in the Paraguayan capital.
The last round of discussions was in Brussels last March where both sides agreed to keep advancing in the rules and regulations framework for the proposed trade, cooperation and association agreement.
If the agreement is finally achieved it would become the world’s largest trade block and would be based on three pillars: trade, political dialogue and cooperation.
The EU decided to retake negotiations that had been stalled for years anticipating the failure of the WTO Doha Round for a global liberalization of trade.
According to Mercosur sources the main obstacles stem now from the EU which is still recovering from the 2008/09 recession while Latin America has managed to skip the full impact of that slowdown and together with Asia have become the best performing areas of the world.
The EU seems to be split on the issue, while a group of possibly ten to twelve countries led by France and Ireland fiercely oppose any agreement that could impact on the well being and finances of EU agriculture, EU Trade Commissioner Karl De Gucht insists there is a political agreement from all members of the European Commission to advance with the negotiations, and should be finalized sometime at the end of the year or beginning of 2012.