Major European corporations called on political leaders for an “ambitious and balanced” European Union-Mercosur trade agreement and asked that ‘agriculture issues’ impacts do not derail the project.
The statement followed a meeting on Tuesday of EU and Brazil leaders in Brussels with the business community in the framework of a bilateral economic forum.
“Defensive considerations in the agriculture sector and other fields” should not be exaggerated and “particularly they must not allow that current Mercosur/EU negotiations derail”, points out the statement.
“Both sides should adopt a pragmatic focus and find ways to reach an ambitious result as soon as possible” said the declaration.
The forum in the framework of EU/Brazil strategic association talks was attended by visiting Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the presidents from the EU Council Heman Van Rompuy and European Commission Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gutch underlined during his speech to the economic summit that Mercosur and the EU “will have to make concessions” to advance with the agreement and warned that if one of the sides adopts restrictions during discussion, “it will be contrary to the negotiations’ spirit for a free trade accord” and will make things more difficult.
In that context De Gutch strongly rejected “protectionist” attitudes and expressed concern regarding recent measures from Brazil which impact the fiscal side of the auto industry and from Argentina with the non automatic import licences system.
At the end of the meeting the Brazilian and European leaders underlined the interest from both sides to increase trade and investment.
EC president Barroso said that an EU/Mercosur trade agreement would generate additional benefits from a political and economic perspective for both sides. He recalled that Mercosur receives more EU investments than Russia, China and India put together.
Ms Rousseff said that the future accord would allow the consolidation of a more ambitious commercial relation between the 27 member EU with Brazil and Mercosur.
The forum included the participation of big European corporations with interests in Brazil such as Telefonica, Santander Bank, Shell, Petrobras among others.
Besides considerations about the EU/Mercosur agreement leaders addressed the need for cooperation in such fields as innovation, financial services, energy and climate change.
The EU business community said that a strategic agreement between the EU and Brazil is “crucial” for propelling bilateral relations.
On the political side the 27EU signed with Brazil several bilateral agreements referred to scientific research, tourism, space policies and cultural affairs plus support for a new 2012/2014 action plan to inject further content to the strategic association.