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French minister finds ‘strong tension and difficulties’ between Argentina and Brazil

Saturday, May 14th 2011 - 05:15 UTC
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Foreign Trade Secretary Pierre Lellouche questions the EU/Mercosur trade agreement Foreign Trade Secretary Pierre Lellouche questions the EU/Mercosur trade agreement

French Foreign Trade Secretary Pierre Lellouche said he had witnessed ‘strong tensions’ among Mercosur members during negotiations with the European Union for a free trade agreement.

“There are evident tensions and difficulties between the Argentine and Brazilian positions, particularly regarding beef”, said Lellouche speaking from Brussels following the EU Foreign Trade Ministers Council meeting.

EU/Mercosur trade negotiations were included in the Council’s agenda on request from several countries including France, Ireland, Belgium and Poland that are very concerned with the agriculture issue.

Lellouche said that during a recent visit to Brazil he was able to witness that “there are many questions marks regarding Mercosur future”, nevertheless the EU is committed to increase trade with Latin America but “this will not come unconditionally”.

“There are up-front interests in that market but also defensive interests”, said Lellouche pointing out that France’s meat sector could be exposed to negative effects from a trade agreement with Mercosur.

The French minister called for the opening of world trade, but cautioned it must be done “on the basis of fair regulations for all”.

The European Commission is expected to release a report on the last round of EU/Mercosur negotiations held at the beginning of the month in Asunción, Paraguay, the fifth such round since talks resumed during last year’s summit in Madrid, following a freeze since 2004.

So far none of the two sides, EU or Mercosur have put forward their proposals for market access, a most sensitive issue. However both delegations have agreed to continue addressing ‘technical’ issues until they are prepared for the exchange of proposals.

The EC also presented at the Council in Brussels the results of a report which reveals the negative impact for certain EU farm sectors of a full agreement with Mercosur and its alleged ‘cheap imports’.

Farm cooperatives’ lobbies have warned the EC that a free trade agreement with Mercosur will mean great losses for the beef sector, production and jobs, while the European Parliament echoing those concerns has requested no concessions be made in the negotiations that could be detrimental for farmers’ living standards.


Top Comments

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  • yul

    very normal !
    their foreign trade compositions are almost same but their economies are different !

    May 14th, 2011 - 09:38 am 0
  • GeoffWard

    Multi-agency EU Workshop 22 March 2011 on what to do when Mercosur talks collapse:

    “In examining trade agreements between Brazil and the EU, the difficulty of dissociating the bilateral trade relationship from inter-regional trade agreements is apparent.

    Obstacles to progress in trade negotiations relate to disputes between Brazil and the EU but also to political dynamics within other Mercosur countries (Argentina; GW).

    Disagreements in reaching agreement with the regional trade bloc (high tariffs on industrial products versus non trade barriers and particularly agriculture subsidies) mirror the reasons for paralysis within the WTO’s Doha Round.

    An alternative to pursuing an EU-Mercosur agreement could be to work toward a bilateral Brazil-EU free trade agreement, although this would be a long-term scenario, once the negotiation process EU-Mercosur fails.

    Success in pursuing a sustained regional strategy for engagement may in turn depend on strengthening bilateral relationships with Brazil’s neighbours, using issues other than trade as entry points for expanded dialogue.”

    So, the EU wants ‘in’ to South America but , with countries with which it can’t trade, it is willing to develop non-trade links.
    My guess is that Higher Education development links will figure prominently.

    May 14th, 2011 - 12:05 pm 0
  • briton

    France rarely comments like this, so if she says there is a problem, then they should sit up and listen,

    May 14th, 2011 - 08:00 pm 0
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