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Reuters | 10 January 2024
Brazil’s Lula, Japan’s Kishida discuss potential Mercosur trade deal
BRASILIA, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday discussed with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida a potential trade deal between Japan and South American bloc Mercosur, the Brazilian government said in a statement.
Lula and Kishida spoke by phone about strengthening trade between Latin America’s largest economy and Japan, according to the government statement, which added that the Japanese leader intends to visit Brazil "in due course."
"They also discussed the possibility of a trade agreement between Mercosur and Japan," the Brazilian government said.
Mercosur, a customs union formed by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, has been in talks to finalize a long-awaited trade deal with the European Union, but Lula has said that the South American bloc should "explore new negotiation fronts" with Asian countries including China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Uruguay has called for rapid conclusion of the EU-Mercosur talks because it wants to negotiate an agreement with China.
Mercosur recently clinched a trade and investment deal with Singapore, its first with an Asian nation. It is also eyeing a deal with South Korea.
Brazil’s strong farm sector is interested in expanding food sales to Japan and a trade agreement with Mercosur would help.
Brazil exported $6.6 billion in soybeans, iron ore, aluminum, chicken, corn and coffee to Japan in 2022, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and imported $5.3 billion from Japan, mainly in automotive parts and integrate circuits.
Lula visited Japan last year after being invited to the G7 summit in Hiroshima.