The EU and the Mercosur trade bloc are ready to exchange trade proposals in April and revive stalled talks to open their economies, Argentina’s Secretary of Trade, Miguel Braun, told EURACTIV.com during a visit to Brussels to meet his counterpart.
Mercosur is the EU’s eighth-largest trade partner, while the EU is Mercosur’s largest investor.
The two blocs officially relaunched frozen trade negotiations (which started in 1999), at a summit in Madrid in May, 2010, and the objective since then has been to negotiate a comprehensive deal. Talks have been tough, with both sides seeking to ensure the deal addresses everything from industrial goods and agricultural production to services and intellectual property.
Attempts to move forward, most recently at an EU-Latin American summit in Santiago in 2013, failed because of Argentina’s blockade.
Although Uruguay currently holds the Mercosur rotating chair, the changing of the guard in Argentina has played a crucial role in reviving the negotiations, since the previous administration of Cristina Fernandez was reluctant to move forward, as her government privileged local jobs, domestic industry and markets.