EU-Mercosur deal hits fresh setback

Jorge Taiana labelled the current offer on the table as "unsatisfactory". [UNASUR/Flickr]

The President of South American trade bloc Mercosur’s parliament (Parlasur) thinks that the EU’s current tabled offer is “unsatisfactory” and made it clear that it shouldn’t be signed in its current form. EURACTIV Spain reports.

Jorge Taiana, head of the trade bloc’s parliament, complained that the negotiations, which resumed about seven years ago, are taking far too long, but added that in the absence of a “balanced agreement”, nothing should be signed.

The Argentine said that the EU’s offer of “small tolls on unprocessed products” and its demand that “Mercosur open up its industries and services” would negatively affect “integrated and balanced development”.

He also added that he is “not optimistic that there will be progress” as a result of the economic recession that has hit Europe.

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Spain is convinced that the trade agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the Mercosur countries can be concluded by the end of 2017. EURACTIV Spain reports.

In this situation, Taiana indicated that more regional measures and promotion of trade in materials and services between Latin American countries would be more viable.

In the case of Argentina, he insisted that the business relationship between it and Chile “will not change”, regardless of the talks going on with the EU.

German MEP Bernd Lange (SPD), who is the chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, told EFE that the “moment of opportunity (to sign a deal) is still very much open and nobody knows when it will close”.

However, he was more optimistic than Taiana and indicated that he is hopeful that these new negotiations will not last as long as those that were needed to finally secure the Canadian trade deal, known as CETA.

Mercosur to consider trade deal with United Kingdom

The EU and South America’s Mercosur bloc could strike a free trade deal within two years, according to Argentina’s Commerce Secretary Miguel Braun. After Brexit, Mercosur would be open to a separate trade deal with the UK.

Lange insisted that the fact our world is ever-more globalised is a reason to broker agreements that “configure” this phenomenon and which do not just focus on “stronger” economic benefit, but more on “fair trade”.

He also said that next March there will be new meetings and highlighted that the Parliament is “a key player” in managing the relationship between the two parties.

Jorge Taiana heads up Mercosur's parliament, which is comprised of 81 MPs, 18 from each member state and 9 from candidate member Venezuela. It was established to boost the political autonomy of the trading bloc and its first session was held in early 2007.

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