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EU/Mercosur trade agreement expected to be signed next semester, with Belgium presiding EU Council

MercoPress | 30 October 2023

EU/Mercosur trade agreement expected to be signed next semester, with Belgium presiding EU Council

Spain’s acting Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, Hector Gomez has anticipated that during this semester, in the framework of Spain’s presidency of the European Union Council, some of the “main differences” in negotiations for the trade agreement with Mercosur are expected to be “closed”, but foundations will be solidly established, which means the signature of the accord will be delayed until the next semester

“We continue to be optimistic, but we are also aware that most probably, it will the next semester when we can definitively sign the Mercosur deal”, said Gomez during the EU informal trade ministers meeting held in Valencia, Spain. During the meeting, trade agreements of EU with Mercosur, Chile and Mexico were discussed by ministers from 27 member countries.

”The priority objective for the Spanish presidency is to work on the additional instrument establishing the foundations to well define terms and after twenty years, the definitive impulse so that the deal becomes a reality for the next presidency, (Belgium)“.

Minister Gomez admitted that there are ”different considerations“ from European countries referred to the agreement and we are trying to achieve points of convergence among the well known differences” and despite of the existing difficulties so far “we believe it is the moment to definitively advance with Mercosur”

In effect it has been France with his Foreign Trade minister Olivier Brecht who has underlined the need to reach “fair and balanced” agreements with Mercosur members and thus requested for more time.

Brecht insisted on the significance of environmental issues for France and has defended the deal since it is now “more aligned with the new approach of the European Commission”.

In the final press conference after the informal meeting, the Secretary of State Xiana Mendez stressed that reopening the agreement closed in 2019 with Mercosur “is a red line”, and that the additional instrument that is being intensively negotiated “aims to clarify environmental and sustainability aspects, as well as the social impact of trade measures”.

The acting Spanish minister indicated that the objective is to “set the foundations so that the desired agreement with Mercosur becomes a reality” during the next presidency.
“We are definitely facing an opportunity to close the Mercosur agreement after so many years of impasse”,

“Defining priorities and red lines” with Mercosur “is task that is always crystallized in the latest phases of negotiations,” but we don’t discard that that it could be reached in a short time“.

Minister Mendez said that Mercosur countries, ”believe in this accord“ and share the objectives, and ”the message to speed all that is pending we have until December makes sense” and could turn into a possible result.

 source: MercoPress