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December 19, 2017

EU-Mercosur FTA conclusion unlikely in 2017

A free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Mercosur bloc is unlikely to be concluded this year, as had previously been expected, with negotiations set to continue into 2018.

A free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Mercosur bloc is unlikely to be concluded this year, as had previously been expected, with negotiations set to continue into 2018.

Groups representing European and Brazilian textile and apparel firms last week welcomed reports that an EU-Mercosur FTA had a realistic chance of being concluded before the close of 2017. 

Apparel groups welcome EU-Mercosur FTA talks

The discussions are part of overall negotiations with the EU for a bi-regional Association Agreement between the two, which also covers a political and a cooperation pillar.

If concluded, it would be one of the EU bloc’s biggest, with two-way trade in goods valued at EUR85bn (US$100.2m) last year. It also has the potential to transform the relatively closed, high-tariff economies of Brazil and Argentina, the two largest members of Mercosur, which also includes Uruguay and Paraguay. 

Yet reports this week suggest negotiations between the European Union and the South American trade bloc will extend into next year after the Europeans asked for more time to analyse proposed changes, according to Reuters.

“The European commissioners need to check in and be sure they have backing to be able to respond to the proposals we presented,” Brazilian Foreign Minister, Aloysio Nunes, told reporters.

EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, is understood to have said: “We are simply not there yet.”

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