MercoPress | Monday, April 12th 2010
Mercosur and EU trade negotiators must “deliver” before May summit
Mercosur is waiting for “dialogue contributions” from the European Union to decide on negotiations for a political and commercial agreement with the EU. Brussels is expected to make its move at the end of April on time for a formal launching in May of the decade-long delayed but very much needed block to block talks.
Argentine delegate Alfredo Chiradía “waiting” for EU “dialogue contributions” Argentine delegate Alfredo Chiradía “waiting” for EU “dialogue contributions”
“Mercosur has already considered its position with important concessions to the European side, so the ball in now in their court. We are waiting to see those improvements, assess them, hopefully mostly referred to the farm sector, and from there on see how we can proceed”, said Alfredo Chiaradía, Argentina’s International Economic Relations Secretary.
The round of talks is scheduled for the end of April in Brussels and with that purpose last week Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) technical staff met in Buenos Aires to prepare for the coming round of talks. Argentina commands the talks since is holds the pro tempore Mercosur chair during the first half of 2010.
“The meeting in Brussels is scheduled for April 26/27. The following step is to see how we continue from there on with the negotiation process, which must deliver something by May 17 when the summit of European Union and Mercosur leaders meet in Madrid”, according to Chiaradía.
Both blocks begun negotiations for a political and trade association agreement a decade ago but talks stalled in 2004 over differences in trade areas. However in the last few months of 2009 both sides sent strong political signals saying that they were prepared to advance and attempt to re-launch negotiations this year, precisely taking advantage of the summit.
“Mercosur has anticipated that negotiation terms and areas for both blocks should cover a significant percentage of bilateral trade in the framework of World Trade Organization rulings”, added Chiradía. “That is our objective”.
Spain which currently holds the rotating chair of the European Union is also very much interested in obtaining practical results.
Spanish Foreign Affairs minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has repeatedly stated that there is the political will both from the EU and Mercosur member countries to reach “a clear, definitive and irreversible” accord which helps to pave the way for a wide ranging trade agreement between the two regions.