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Mercosur, EU to resume trade talks in October

International Herald Tribune

Mercosur, EU to resume trade talks in October

The Associated Press

21 September 2006

BRASILIA, Brazil. South America’s Mercosur bloc will resume negotiations with the European Union on a free trade deal in late October, following the suspension of talks last year, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The fresh negotiations will take place in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 19-20, the ministry’s press office said.

Mercosur’s member nations are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. The two sides suspended talks last year amid disagreements over agricultural issues and as negotiations through the World Trade Organization were headed into high gear for a global trade treaty.

The WTO negotiations collapsed in June, leading to predictions that moves would accelerate across the planet to strike regional and bilateral trade deals.

Mercosur’s members want the EU to significantly slash agricultural tariffs and subsidies that benefit European farmers. Europe is seeking greater access to South American industrial markets.

The new talks will include Venezuela for the first time. The nation joined Mercosur as a full member in July.