The 23 associations represent a wide array of European industries and other businesses based in the EU, ranging from those focused on clothing and footwear such as Euratex and European Footwear Confederation (CEC) to manufacturing and food-related sectors.

The consortium is calling on leaders to conclude the EU-Mercosur trade negotiations rapidly on the remaining points, adding, “there is no time to lose.” They believe having the EU-Mercosur agreement in place will boost the integration of their economies and help to diversify value chains both for imports and exports.

They explained that the agreement is key for the competitiveness of export-oriented sectors that create tens of millions of jobs in Europe and provide an essential contribution to the prosperity and standards of living of European citizens.

The consortium added how it will also help to promote the EU’s open strategic autonomy in times of rising economic security concerns by partnering with like-minded countries.

The letter read: “It is important to recognise the huge opportunities the agreement offers, which will help maintaining a strong industrial structure in the EU, including in rural areas, and thereby to safeguard the jobs and well-being of millions of European citizens. Given that the EU lacks substantial reserves of key raw materials necessary for the green and digital transition and the fact that a substantial proportion of global growth is expected to come from outside of the EU in the next decade, our industries need open export markets to sell European goods and services and procure raw materials at a competitive prices.”

In fact, the consortium highlighted the economic, social, and geopolitical significance of the agreement.

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While they acknowledge the necessity to protect the “unique” ecosystems of the Mercosur region, the consortium noted that the EU-Mercosur agreement provides a very strong incentive and the right tools for collaboration to maintain the region’s sustainable development pledges, including the halt of illegal deforestation.

Last year in July, Euratex and CEC along with 17 other European business associations called on the EU to ratify the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in a bid to keep the region’s supply chains operational.

This letter was sent shortly after the EU, Brazil and Argentinian apparel suppliers urged their respective presidents to finalise the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of 2023 with sourcing expert Dr Sheng Lu citing Latin America as a strategically important sourcing region for the EU.

The EU-Mercosur agreement was reached in June 2019 after two decades of negotiations.

At that time, it was said to be the “largest and most ambitious” trade agreement ever negotiated by both sides, providing regulatory certainty for both trade in goods and services along with establishing better trade links.