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Home / News-archive / EU-Mercosur FTA: relaunching the negotiation process

EU-Mercosur FTA: relaunching the negotiation process

The six-month presidency of the Mercosur, currently held by Paraguay (July-December 2015), aims at relaunching negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU in November 2015.

 

The negotiation process between the two blocs began in 1999, was suspended in 2004 due to, among other reasons, a lack of agreement among the parties on what products had to be exempted by tariff laws, and then resumed in 2010.

 

However, Mercosur countries hold different positions in relation to the conclusion of the agreement.

 

Uruguay and Paraguay are interested in reaching an agreement as soon as possible, because their current dependence on Argentina’s and Brazil’s markets makes them vulnerable when these latter countries experience economic difficulties, as it is the case at present. 

 

On the contrary, Argentina has put the brakes on the initiative, by both delaying the definition of the products that will be liberalised, and expressing concerns that the agreement may result in the loss of jobs. Bolivia, in turn, firmly opposes the project: president Evo Morales threatened to abandon the Mercosur if a free trade agreement with the EU is signed.

 

As a way out of the impasse, the German chancellor Angela Merkel suggested the possibility that Mercosur partners sign the agreement not jointly, but at “different speeds”.

 

Despite these difficulties, the Brazilian government, that looks favourably at an agreement with the EU, is optimistic that at least an exchange of proposals for a wide ranging and cooperation trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur can take place in November 2015.

 

Sources

Periódico El Pais (in Spanish)

Periódico Ultima Hora (in Spanish)

European Commission website – Trade policy with Mercosur



 
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