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Vietnam interested in trade deal with Mercosur, says Brazil’s Lula

Reuters | 25 September 2023

Vietnam interested in trade deal with Mercosur, says Brazil’s Lula

BRASILIA, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Monday that Vietnam has expressed interest in a trade deal with the Mercosur bloc of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, adding he will bring the topic up for discussion with those countries.

Lula, who is currently chairing the group, said he wants to bring Mercosur members closer to Asian countries and highlighted there is room for trade with Vietnam to grow, as he welcomed Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Brasilia.

The move comes as the Mercosur bloc tries to finalize a long-awaited trade deal with the European Union, which the leftist leader has been pushing to be concluded by the end of this year.

Mercosur and the EU reached an agreement in 2019 after two decades of negotiations but it has been on hold due to environmental concerns.

Canada, South Korea and Singapore are other countries in talks for trade deals with Mercosur. Lula had previously hinted at potential agreements with China, Indonesia, Vietnam and countries in Central America and the Caribbean.

The Brazilian leader said on Monday he aims to deepen the Brazil-Vietnam cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, education and defense, adding that both governments had signed deals covering those areas during their get-together.

The agriculture agreement, he said, will further open Vietnam’s market to Brazilian products.

A memorandum of understanding on defense, Lula added, was the "first step" towards a future deal that would open room for his country to export defense products to the Asian nation, "including aircraft".

Minh Chinh on Saturday visited the headquarters of Brazilian planemaker Embraer (EMBR3.SA) in Sao Paulo state.

Lula also thanked Vietnam’s support to Brazil in its bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and said he accepted Minh Chinh’s invitation for him to visit Hanoi next year.

"We are two Global South countries committed to peace, multilateralism, sustainable development and the fight against hunger and poverty," Lula said. "We want greater representation in international governance."

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu ; Editing by Steven Grattan

 source: Reuters