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Spain, Argentina push for restart of Mercosur-EU talks

Dow Jones | Monday February 9th, 2009

Spain, Argentina Push For Restart Of Mercosur-EU Talks

by Bernd Radowitz, Dow Jones Newswires

MADRID -(Dow Jones)- Spain and Argentina on Monday asked for a restart of trade talks between the South American Mercosur economic bloc and the European Union.

New talks should permit the signing of an association agreement between Mercosur and the E.U. in the first half of 2010, when Spain is set to hold the E.U. presidency and Argentina the Mercosur presidency, the Spanish government said in a release after a meeting between Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Argentina President Cristina Fernandez.

Mercosur has Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay as full members, with Venezuela in the process of becoming a fifth full member.

Talks for closer ties between Mercosur and the E.U. have stalled as both economic blocs gave priority to reaching a broader agreement within the framework of the World Trade Organization’s Doha round.

The Doha round, however, has stalled over disagreements between developed and developing nations over issues such as agricultural subsidies and tariffs for industrial goods.

Spain and Argentina also want to intensify their cooperation in energy, particularly in renewable power. The two countries plan to form a working group that will analyze issues such as energy efficiency in accordance with the objectives of the recently founded International Agency for Renewable Energy, or IRENA.