Reuters | 24 June 2023
Brazil’s Lula calls for ’common sense’ negotiations on EU-Mercosur trade pact
June 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday urged the European Union and the Mercosur to set aside arrogance and negotiate the long-awaited trade agreement between the blocs with common sense.
"It’s important to remember that we need the EU and they need us very much. So it’s important that we put a little bit of arrogance aside and we try to use common sense for us to negotiate. And that goes for us and that goes for them," Lula said to journalists in Paris.
The leftist Brazilian leader said he discussed with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, the differences in the stance of the two sides on the agreement.
"I think it’s normal that France tries to defend its agriculture," Lula added.
"It may be a more difficult inflection point, but it is normal that they also understand that Brazil cannot give up government purchases," he said referring to an unwanted procurement clause of the deal allowing European companies to sell to Brazil’s public sector.
The clause was agreed upon by former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to speed up the deal. Lula, however, has held a firm stance on removing it since he took office in January.
He stated, however, that "no matter how much disagreement there is, it is possible that we will end up with an agreement. This is the law of nature, and this is what we will manage to do."
His remarks come a day after he described an addendum included in the deal by the EU attaching climate change commitments and introducing penalties for nations failing to comply with the climate goals as a "threat" to Brazil.
The agreement was struck in 2019 after lengthy negotiations but was then put on hold largely due to European concerns over Amazon deforestation.