The seventh round of Mercosur/EU trade negotiations held in Montevideo ended with “progress in some areas at regulation and norms levels” and with the commitment of exchanging proposals in mid 2012, according to Joao Aguiar Machado head of the EU team.
“It was a good meeting, we advanced but we must continue since there’s much ahead still” said Aguiar Machado who added that the regulation and norms chapter was positive but “we didn’t discuss the difficult issue of market access”.
The EU and Mercosur are negotiating an ambitious cooperation and association agreement which includes trade and has in agriculture and industrial goods its main obstacles.
The EU delegate said that a lead was found for controversial issues such as facilitating trade, sanitary measures, trade defence, competition, services and rules of origin but “other issues remain difficult such as intellectual property and geographic indications, which seem complicated for Mercosur members”.
There are different points of view, “but step by step we are reaching a work methodology which allows us to advance” said the EU delegate.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled for 12/16 March in Brussels when both sides will try and advance as much as possible in the regulatory and norms framework so then market access discussions can begin.
“We expect the exchange of proposals to take place during the boreal summer next year”, advanced Aguiar Machado.
Uruguay hosted the trade talks since it holds the rotating Mercosur chair. The talks in Montevideo ended last Friday and EU delegates left over the weekend.