Rio Times | 6 December 2018
Mercosur and EU trade negotiators meet in Brasilia
By Lise Alves
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The foreign ministers of Mercosur and EU members are meeting in Brasilia on Thursday (December 6th) in an effort to advance the partnership agreement between the two economic blocs. This is the first time Mercosur and the UE are meeting after statements made by France’s Macron caused tension and doubt about the partnership.
During the G20 last weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina, French President Emmanuel Macron, conditioned the progress made in trade negotiations between Mercosur and the European Union to Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.
“I am not in favor of signing broad trade agreements with powers that do not respect the Paris Agreement,” Macron said in a press conference after speaking to Argentine president, Mauricio Macri.
Bolsonaro recently issued several statements indicating the he was considering withdrawing the country from the Paris Agreement, accord which defines world actions to be taken to curb warming global.
Earlier this week, Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, tried to ease the tension between the two blocs stating that before the G20 Leaders Summit, Bolsonaro had told him he wanted to advance negotiations between the two groups.
“I spoke before starting the G20 with my new colleague Jair Bolsonaro, and he confirmed that he wants to advance in this agreement,” Macri noted in a news conference in Buenos Aires.
Since 1999, Mercosur and the EU have been negotiating a broad accord, including a free trade agreement. Although negotiations were stagnant between 2004 and 2010, they resumed in 2016 and officials hinted that negotiations had advanced substantially.
The main divergences and disagreements between the two blocs are in issues concerning the auto industry and market access for products such as beef, sugar and dairy products.