Brazil and Argentina have started discussing a reduction in the common external tariff (TEC) of the Mercosur trade block, sources in both governments revealed on Wednesday, as their market-friendly presidents look to boost economic growth.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy arrived in Brazil on Sunday on an official two-day visit during which he will meet with President Michel Temer and follow a markedly economic agenda, including Mercosur and current ongoing talks with the EU in Brussels. The second leg of the trip will take Rajoy to Uruguay.
Visiting president of the European Parliament Martin Shultz called on his Argentine hosts to leave behind those chapters with no dialogue and concentrate on Mercosur/EU trade and cooperation negotiations that have been stalled for almost twenty years, taking advantage of an Argentina opened to the world and an ally when international relations are being redefined.
Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have announced they do not support Venezuela as the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur, further deepening controversy in the group which could even hinder ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union and closer links with the Pacific Alliance.
Despite growing optimism among Mercosur member countries of reaching a trade agreement with the European Union, Argentine minister of foreign affairs Susana Malcorra has cautioned that the road ahead is not a bed of roses, and the coming exchange of goods and tariff reduction proposals will not satisfy any of the two sides, but that is where serious discussions begin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Brazil's government on Thursday to further open its markets to foreign companies, and said she saw an opportunity to reach a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc. Merkel is on a two-day visit to Brazil with a large delegation of government officials and representatives from German companies.
Brazil has proposed reviewing Mercosur rules so that its members can enjoy more 'liberty' to negotiate trade agreements with other blocks or third parties, because even when Mercosur is an indissoluble marriage, this does mean that relations can't be discussed and thus a 'different speeds' group should not be discarded.
Uruguay and Brazil foreign ministers Rodolfo Nin Novoa and Mauro Vieira will be meeting this week in Brasilia in yet another attempt to push forward the stalled negotiations for a trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, according to the minutes of a meeting of the Uruguayan official with members of the Foreign Affairs committee.