President Lula da Silva welcomed on Monday, in Brasilia, Vietnam prime minister Pham Minh Chinh and said the Asian country was interested in a trade deal with the Mercosur bloc. Lula, who currently chairs the group, said he wants to bring Mercosur members closer to Asian countries and highlighted there is room for trade with Vietnam to grow..
The move comes as the Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) tries to finalize a long-awaited trade deal with the European Union, which the populist leader has been pushing to be concluded by the end of this year. Mercosur and the EU reached an agreement in 2019 after two decades of negotiations but it has been on hold due to environmental concerns and objections from several EU members. .
Canada, South Korea and Singapore are other countries in talks for trade deals with Mercosur. and Lula had previously hinted at potential agreements with China, Indonesia, Vietnam plus countries in Central America and the Caribbean.
Lula said he aims to deepen the Brazil-Vietnam cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, education and defense, adding that both governments had signed deals covering those areas during their get-together.
The agriculture agreement, the Brazilian leader said, will further open Vietnam's market to Brazilian products. A memorandum of understanding on defense, Lula added, was the first step towards a future deal that would open room for his country to export defense products to the Asian nation, including aircraft.
Minh Chinh on Saturday visited the headquarters of Brazilian plane maker Embraer in Sao Paulo state, which dominates the world market of middle sized, middle ranged commercial aircraft and military transport. .
Lula also thanked Vietnam's support to Brazil in its bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and said he accepted Minh Chinh's invitation for him to visit Hanoi next year.