The Secretary for International Economic Relations, Jorge Neme, and the Secretary of State for European Affairs of Portugal, Ana Paula Zacarías, held a video conference to discuss Mercosur-EU Agreement challenges for this semester, during which Argentina holds the MERCOSUR Pro Tempore Presidency and Portugal the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Both officials began by reviewing the state of affairs in each country in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed on the importance of international cooperation and multilateral dialogue in order to achieve the best results for all countries.
Neme and Zacarías also agreed on the great importance of the signing and entry into force of the MERCOSUR-EU agreement for the purpose of boosting trade between the blocs and supporting the economic recovery of our countries.
In that regard, they discussed the status of the agreement, which is currently under legal review prior to signature, and focused on pending issues. Zacarías stated that the signature of the agreement is a priority for Portugal’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.
On that subject, Neme noted that the main pending issues to be solved are the need to finalize the lists of prior users of geographical indications (including designations of origin), deal with environmental issues with a commitment to the sustainable development of economies, and approve a statement on the Question of the Malvinas. Regarding environmental issues, Neme placed special emphasis on coordinating measures aimed at the sustainable development of countries, as further development will lead to better environmental standards.
In concluding, both officials agreed on the need to move forward during the presidencies of both countries in their respective blocs to reach the pending agreements and sign the MERCOSUR-UE Agreement. To that end, they undertook to maintain regular dialogue and to lead both blocs in exchanging offers to reach the necessary consensus.
The Undersecretary for MERCOSUR and International Economic Negotiations, Rossana Surballe; the Ambassador of Portugal to Argentina, José Frederico Viola de Drummond Ludovice; the Argentine Ambassador to Portugal, Rodolfo Gil; and the Director of Trade Negotiations, José María Arbilla participated in the video conference.