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Argentina surprised by EU request to delay another month trade negotiations with Mercosur

Friday, December 13th 2013 - 12:57 UTC
Full article 68 comments
Capitanich making the early morning announcement Capitanich making the early morning announcement

The European Union has asked for a one-month delay in the exchange of proposals to kick off free-trade negotiations with Mercosur, Argentine Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich confirmed on Thursday. The news was first reported by Sao Paulo newspapers on statements from Brazilian Foreign minister Luiz Fernando Figuereido.

 “Surprisingly, we received a request from the European Union to put off for another month the presentation of the proposals,” Capitanich told reporters in his everyday conference at the Casa Rosada presidential palace.

Mercosur four members, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, were due to present their proposals to Brussels next week. The proposals involve lists of imports that each side would be prepared to liberalize in talks that have taken almost two decades to get off the ground.

Capitanich seemed to enjoy the situation because Argentina has consistently been accused of acting with reluctance in reaching an agreement and has delayed the elaboration of a joint proposal with the other Mercosur members.

The head of ministers gave no reasons for the delay sought by Brussels, but the Brazilian media said that reliable sources indicated EU 28-members could not agree on a vital issue for Mercosur, agriculture.

Brazil is hoping a free-trade agreement with the EU can be signed next year, 15 years after talks were first launched. Attempts to negotiate a deal have stumbled repeatedly over Mercosur access for European manufactured goods and EU access for Mercosur agricultural products facing high European farm subsidies.

Nevertheless minister Figuereido said Brazil is as committed as ever to achieve the free trade and cooperation agreement with the EU, looking ahead to the block to block agreement structure to which the world is heading. Besides next year Brazil will be losing several tariff benefits from the EU since the country is now described as 'middle class'.

Foreign minister Hector Timerman currently in Rome attending the VI Conference Italy-Latin America hosted by his Italian peer Emma Bonino called for an end to European farm subsidies and other protectionist mechanisms which impede the access “of our farms and agro-industry productions to European consumers”.

Timerman also underlined that European corporations facing the fall of deals and profits in Europe have increasingly looked for other opportunities in Latin American markets.

He mentioned that in the last year only, Italian construction companies operating in South America “have managed a similar quantity of contracts as in the whole of the European Union”.

Top Comments

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  • Idlehands

    So the French are blocking from the European end and we have yet to see what Argentina has to offer on its list. I can't see how it will ever lead to an agreement given the trade and currency controls in Argentina. It's all doomed to failure - but I'm sure all those involved are getting nice lunches and handsome salaries while they stretch it out.

    Dec 13th, 2013 - 01:07 pm 0
  • Briton

    Argentina should be banned from any free trade until they renounce their violent intent and aggression, against a fellow EU member,

    If indeed the unmighty EU had any morals and respect for the British people, they would have done something years ago,

    Even Spain is tolerated,

    The sooner we get of this corrupt gravy train the better,
    Just my opinion.

    Dec 13th, 2013 - 01:11 pm 0
  • Stevie

    Europe thought they could play on Mercosur division.
    They never imagined even Argentina would get their proposal ready so fast. Now, they lost their joker in Paraguay, as they lost their excuse of Mercosur not coming up with a common proposal.
    They woke up with the ball in their garden and just don't know what to do with it.

    Mercosur is ready.

    To lower EU tariffs.

    Dec 13th, 2013 - 01:25 pm 0
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