MercoPress | Thursday, May 17th 2012
Spain supports EU/Mercosur trade accord on a “region to region” basis respecting WTO rules
Spain’s Foreign Affairs minister Jose Garcia Margallo said that Madrid supports negotiations for a free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union on a “region to region” basis, back stepping from his proposal last April to exclude Argentina following the seizure of YPF from Repsol.
“The wish of the EU and Spain is that the Mercosur/EU accords are done region to region”, said García-Margallo during a press conference in Brasilia next to Brazil’s Foreign Affairs minister Antonio Patriota.
But he warned that “all countries which become part of the association agreement must respect the rules of the World Trade Organization, WTO and investments”. Garcia-Margallo arrived in Brazil on Wednesday for a three day visit, the first to the region since Argentina took over a majority stake in YPF from Repsol.
When the seizure Spain proposed continuing EU/Mercosur free trade negotiations without Argentina but the idea had weak support in the EU and even was discarded by Brussels spokespersons.
The day before the Spanish official arrived in Brazil, Patriota publicly stated it was “inconceivable” an EU/Mercosur agreement leaving Argentina out.
However in spite of the statements negotiations for an overall association and trade agreement remain stalled basically because of the deep recession in the European Union plus the fact Mercosur insists in a more liberal access approach for agriculture goods.
More specifically on the bilateral relation, Garcia-Margallo said Spain wants to renew and re-power strategic links with Brazil, started in 2003.
“The Spanish economy begins a growth cycle that will enable us to continue investing overseas and Brazil is a favourite place for Spanish investments”, said Garcia-Margallo who confirmed the upcoming visits of King Juan Carlos, followed by that of President Mariano Rajoy for the UN Rio+20 summit.
The two countries also discussed access difficulties for tourists visiting the two countries. “We have given instructions for as soon as possible those difficulties are overcome”, said the Spanish minister.
Following years of protests because many Brazilian tourists were turned back on their arrival at Madrid’s Barajas airport, since last year Brazil year started a similar system with tougher rules for Spaniards wishing to visit Brazil. “It’s an issue which continues to concern the Brazilian government” said Patriota.