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Canada interested in closer links with Mercosur announces ‘exploratory talks’

Saturday, June 25th 2011 - 08:00 UTC
Full article 2 comments
Trade minister Ed Fast is in Asunción promoting trade and opened a seminar on how to export to Canada. Trade minister Ed Fast is in Asunción promoting trade and opened a seminar on how to export to Canada.

Canada and Mercosur agreed on Friday to hold exploratory talks to strengthen their relationship, Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said on Friday. Fast is currently in Asunción to promote bilateral trade and investments, and Paraguay currently holds the Mercosur chair.

Fast did not go as far as saying the end goal would be a free trade zone, which is what Mercosur and the European Union have been trying -- unsuccessfully so far -- to achieve.

“I am hopeful that these exploratory discussions will help us enhance our economic ties with Mercosur, the largest common market in South America” Fast said in a statement after the Canadian delegation met with President Fernando Lugo and other top officials.

Talks with the EU have stumbled over EU farm subsidies and disputes over tariff barriers and market access for manufactured products. Besides, Argentina is holding presidential elections next October and France which heads the EU farmers’ lobby in 2012.

“Although we are in the early stages of these discussions, we know there are potential commercial opportunities in this market that are worthy of further dialogue,” Fast said.

The statement said Mercosur offered opportunities for Canadian companies in aerospace, life sciences, infrastructure, information and communications technology, clean technology, mining, and oil and gas.

Bilateral trade between Canada and Mercosur totalled 8 billion US dollars in 2010.

Mercosur has trade agreements with Israel and Egypt. However the group is negotiating tariff agreements with India, South Africa, South Korea, among other countries.

Fast on Friday together with his Paraguayan counterpart Francisco Rivas Alamada opened the seminar “How to export to Canada” as part of a policy of establishing closer relations between the two countries.

Canada since 2007 is considered the first among G7 members and third best worldwide for making business supported on excellent infrastructure, market conditions and solid pro-business atmosphere. According to the World Bank Canada is the first country of OCDE and second best worldwide regarding paper work and time to establish business.

Canada belongs to Nafta (free trade area with Mexico and the US) and since 2002 the basic tariff is 1.1%. The few items under restrictions or quota systems include coarse steel, poultry, bovine cattle, dairy produce and some cereals.

Tags: Canada, Mercosur.

Top Comments

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  • GeoffWard

    If Canada tries for a Mercosur Free Trade link (like the EU stalled talks), any Bilateral agreements she makes with constituent Mercosur countries - read Brasil - this will need unpicking.

    Canada is 'the right size' for a FTZ - not too big, not too small - and is not a back-door route to goods from the USA like Mexico seems to be.
    Its food production is complementary rather than competing, and like Venezuela, it produces plenty of 'dirty' shale oil.

    But the Big Prize for Mercosur is the vast European market; it does not have the capacity to DOMINATE Mercosur states like the USA and China can and do.
    There may be years to go before South American states have the PROTOCOLS in place to sign off an even-handed FTZ (or some other) Agreement with the EU - and much more need to understand that trade is only trade, and, as S.A. moves much more to the Left and the EU to the Right, trade need not be confounded by politics.

    Jun 25th, 2011 - 12:33 pm 0
  • Tte Estevez

    Yes but Eu,will never take off the subsidies.This had been tried unilaterally by Argentina in the 1990 and was a failure.Spain,Greece and several other nations will pull out of the Euro
    I agree fully with Jim Rogers.
    The Euro is a fantasy,as the european union...

    Jim Rogers: Euro will probably break up in the next 15, 20 years

    Read more:
    Personally I think he is tooo optimistic of the Euro's life...I think will not survive this decade..

    Jun 26th, 2011 - 06:52 pm 0
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