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.
Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Jaime García-Legaz met this week with the Brazilian minister for external affairs, José Serra, to discuss the state of negotiations that have resumed after more than a decade of unsuccessful attempts.
The EU and Mercosur, a bloc made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela (the latter is just an observer and is not participating in the talks), restarted negotiations in May.
The EU and South America’s Mercosur bloc agreed on 8 April to make another effort to get talks on a long-stalled free trade accord back on track with fresh offers to be made next month.
García-Legaz admitted that, so far, the proposals that have been submitted are not sufficient, but insisted that there is “political will” on both sides that should resolve any differences.
According to the trade chief, who spoke to EurActiv’s partner EFE in Brasilia, both parties will have to improve their offers, given that the negotiations started from a “low level”.
He added that the delicate political situation in Venezuela should not hinder the talks in any way, insisting that the EU had decided to continue negotiating, despite the “noise” caused by the situation in the country.
A trade deal with six developing African countries was agreed yesterday (14 September) by the European Parliament – some nine years behind schedule.
García-Legaz warned that neither the EU nor Mercosur could “afford to allow it to affect negotiations”, praising the “harmony” that now exists between the founding members of the South American bloc, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
He put this new found cooperation down to political change in Argentina, illustrated by the coming to power of Mauricio Macri, and the developments in Brazil, which have seen former President Dilma Rousseff impeached.