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Cristina Fernandez delaying Mercosur/EU discussions for a free trade agreement

MercoPress, Uruguay

Cristina Fernandez delaying Mercosur/EU discussions for a free trade agreement

28 January 2013

Argentine president Cristina Fernandez downplayed immediate discussions for the trade and cooperation agreement between EU and Mercosur arguing that the South American block should elaborate and discuss new proposals to be presented to the Europe Union on the last quarter of this year.

The Argentine leader made the statements following a 40 minutes interview with her Brazilian peer Dilma Rousseff in the framework of the EU/CELAC summit in Santiago de Chile, which ended Sunday and ahead of the CELAC meeting which concludes on Monday.

“The meeting (with Dilma) was excellent but we are going to have further talks later”, said President Cristina Fernandez on leaving the hotel where Ms Rousseff is staying.

“Negotiations with the European Union can’t be based on 2004 decisions. We have to build a new scheme of premises, first intra Mercosur because we are not only Argentina and Brazil but also Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela and let’s not forget Paraguay is holding elections next April and in August will have new authorities”, said the Argentine leader.

“We need a Mercosur ad hoc intra committee to discuss and re-elaborate new proposals and a new offer to present in the last quarter of this year to the European Union” because in this new world “we have new protagonists and new trade terms”.

“There are emerging countries with an emerging industrial development which must face the consolidated development of the EU and we need to contemplate this so that the asymmetries are included and don’t harm our industry and above all our peoples” underlined Cristina Fernandez.

The Argentine president’s words followed on Germany’s Angela Merkel speech when she called for open markets, free trade to bring links between the EU and the region even closer, and to avoid protectionism in all its forms.

Merkel also underlined the significance of the trade and cooperation agreements the EU has signed with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Central America. With the exception of Chile all these accords started discussions well after the firsts rounds of talks with Mercosur in the nineties, and with no agreement reached yet.

Cristina Fernandez statements also contradict the consensus reached by Brazil and the EU during bilateral discussions held on Friday in Brasilia to ‘speed’ EU/Mercosur talks so as to sign an agreement as soon as possible.

The Argentine delegation to the summit included the ministers of Agriculture, Norberto Yahuar; Federal Planning, Julio De Vido; Industry, Debora Giorgi; Deputy ministers of Economy, Alex Kicilloff; Foreign Affairs, Eduardo Zuain and Foreign Trade Secretary Beatriz Paglieri.