EU May Sign FTA with MERCOSUR
Brussels, Oct 11 2006 (Prensa Latina) — The European Parliament will vote today on a report that urges European Union to sign, as soon as possible, the Free Trade Agreement it is discussing with the South Common Market (MERCOSUR) since 1999.
The project also demands the creation of a bi-regional Solidarity Fund, a Mercosur Parliament and greater use of the Euro in the bilateral commercial transactions.
EU-Mercosur talks began in 1999 and have been almost at a standstill since 2004, mainly because of the position adopted by the European Commission, the EU executive body.
Those negotiations, that could have given way to the world s biggest free trade area with about 700 million people, were not successful on the closing date, October 2004.
The main obstacle to signing the agreement is taxes for the South American agricultural products entry to the common market, although the entrance of European products to service areas in the southern bloc is also an object of controversy.
Both groups are now ready to restart negotiations in Rio de Janeiro next week, and the text urges the European-Parliamentarians to boost the signature of an agreement to achieve a strategic priority objective for the community s foreign relations.
MERCOSUR is a very high growth area and commercial opening that comprises the 45 percent of the Latin American population and the regional Gross Domestic Product.