European officials said this week that significant obstacles remain to a long-delayed trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur, even as South American officials expressed optimism a deal would be finalized soon.
On the sidelines of a gathering among the finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 countries in Buenos Aires, an Argentine Treasury Ministry official said the talks would finish in the first half of this year. An initial target for December of last year was pushed back after EU countries said they needed more time.
“There are very few points left,” the official said, adding that Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne would meet with French finance minister Bruno Le Maire.
Farmers in France and some other EU members are resistant to an expected increase in beef and bio-fuel imports from Mercosur. Le Maire said European producers were concerned about unfair competition.
“For the time (being) the negotiation on the Mercosur (deal) for different reasons is blocked,” Le Maire told reporters. “You cannot explain to a producer that he has to stick to very constraining rules in Germany, France, Spain or Italy, and we’ll (import) exactly the same good that will not be produced in the same manner on another continent.”
Spain’s Economy Minister Roman Escolano, however, said on Tuesday that talks were advancing toward a conclusion in “weeks or months.” He added “There is growing consensus that the recent difficulties can be overcome and we can reach a deal”.
An EU diplomat said Mercosur resistance to European proposals on automobile exports and geographic product indicators were also sticking points. Europe has also pushed for its companies to gain better access to government procurement contracts within Mercosur.
“I blame the Mercosur side more for this as they spent all of their energy moaning about the lack of ambition only to find that they hadn’t cleared their lines with their domestic producers,” the source said, adding that the issue was “not beef.”
An official in Brazil’s foreign ministry disputed Le Maire’s characterization of the negotiations as “blocked,” noting that France was not a party to the negotiations, led by the European Commission.
Trade issues have overshadowed the G20 meeting weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, with the world’s financial leaders seeking to endorse free trade and the United States saying it could not sacrifice its national interests.
Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!
Typical EU. Constantly blocking Mercosur deals, but when the shoes on the other foot it's suddenly 'unfair'.Mar 21st, 2018 - 05:31 pm 0
I'm not a fan of Mercosur either, but the EU can't have it's cake and eat it. Both sides need to compromise.
Never mind, Mercosur, it'll be a lot easier negotiating trade deals with the UK than with the EU.
I wrote to you before about trade with Europe and how difficult it can be. For your own good search out small regional groups like the Wallons of Belgium that can block your deal not just Brussels and all the other countries 27 or 28 of them. Also when you deal with North America search hard for North of the USA border in Canada. Chile has figured that out and they ship a large amount of fresh produce of all kinds and wine to Canada in our Winter season, the opposite of yours. We always search for products that are not from the USA for we are not always on good terms with them and we get some from South Africa. Now with a free trade deal with parts of South East Asia, Chile and Peru we will be looking more there. Try to work deals with companies in Canada and with South East Asia 500 million people for they are just on the other side of the Pacific Ocean if you want to go in that direction. Wish you well !!!!Mar 27th, 2018 - 07:34 pm 0