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EU, Mercosur Complete Latest FTA Round

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

14 November 2017

The EU and Mercosur made "substantive progress" in all areas of negotiation during their latest round of talks on a new free trade agreement.

The EU and Mercosur resumed formal talks in October 2016. Since then five negotiating rounds have taken place, with the latest held from November 6-10 in Brasilia.

According to the EU, the round "allowed for substantive progress towards an agreement in all areas." It said these included the negotiating texts on goods, services, government procurement, intellectual property, trade and sustainable development, SMEs, and technical barriers to trade, among others.

The EU added that both sides "made steps to prepare for an exchange of improved market access offers."

The next negotiating round will take place at the end of this month. The EU said that both sides "confirmed their commitment to conclude an agreement that will be greatly beneficial for all before the end of the year."

The agreement is being negotiated with the four founding members of Mercosur: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Venezuela has been a member of Mercosur since 2012 and is an observer in, but not a party to, the trade negotiations.

Current trade relations between the EU and Mercosur are governed by an inter-regional Framework Cooperation Agreement, which entered into force in 1999. The EU and individual Mercosur countries also have bilateral Framework Cooperation Agreements, which likewise establish a structure for dealing with trade-related matters.

Talks on an FTA first began in May 2010. Ten negotiation rounds took place before negotiations were paused in 2012.

The EU accounted for 21 percent of Mercosur's total trade in 2015. The EU's exports to the region increased from EUR21bn (USD24.7bn) in 2005 to EUR46bn in 2015. Mercosur's exports rose from EUR32bn to EUR42bn over the same period.

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | Paraguay | Uruguay | Venezuela | export duty | intellectual property | trade treaty | agreements | small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) | Brazil | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Argentina | services | Europe

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