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Montevideo, March 2nd 2024 - 00:31 UTC

 

 

Mercosur-EU deal said to be almost done

Tuesday, November 28th 2023 - 10:56 UTC
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Lula and Sánchez hope an announcement can be made at the Mercosur summit on Dec. 7 Lula and Sánchez hope an announcement can be made at the Mercosur summit on Dec. 7

European Commission Vice President for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said on Monday that the European Union (EU)-Mercosur trade deal was ready “for the final political push” after technical negotiations were completed.

 “There are very few issues on the table, very few red lines, and many areas of agreement,” added Spanish Trade Minister Xiana Méndez. “The work of the technical teams has been very important in recent weeks,” she continued, stressing that the EU and Mercosur have never been “so close” to concluding negotiations after the 2019 agreement, following two decades of talks.

In this scenario, an announcement is expected during the Mercosur summit on December 7, before the inauguration of Javier Milei as President of Argentina, who has labeled the South American bloc a “hindrance” during his campaign.

The EU has insisted on environmental mirror measures so that the standards the EU imposes on local producers are met on the other side of the Atlantic. France has been particularly keen on respecting sustainable development and the rules of fair competition, while Ireland would not oppose moving forward as long as quotas on meat imports from Mercosur were maintained, it was reported.

In a telephone conversation on Monday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told Paraguayan President Santiago Peña that he would do his utmost to conclude the negotiations during the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, as relations with Latin America are a priority for both Spain and the EU.

The EU and Mercosur are confident that the agreement can be finalized by December 7 at a summit when Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will hand over the rotating presidency of Mercosur to Paraguay. Lula said last week that he hoped to make the announcement at that event.

Earlier this year, Peña warned that if the deal is not finalized by then, he would focus on other partnerships rather than insisting on something that has dragged on for decades.

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