Today, at the end of a new Mercosur - European Union round of negotiations, Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie stated that "significant progress has been made in sensitive areas for the two sides."
"We have had a new round of negotiations, which was positive in our view, since we worked hard to find common ground on the most sensitive issues in the negotiation process, which is still open," Faurie explained to the press, joined by the Minister of Production, Dante Sica; the Minister of Agro-industry, Luis Miguel Etchevehere, and the Secretary for International Economic Relations and Chief Negotiator on behalf of Argentina, Horacio Reyser.
Faurie stressed that "during this stage in Brussels, we have concluded talks on several issues and made significant progress on others. The efforts made by the two blocs have clearly brought us to the final stage of the talks," which will continue and may be concluded "after the European summer break."
This round of negotiations, which began on 9 July at the technical level, was joined two days ago by the Foreign Ministers from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, as well as the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, and the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan. The Mercosur Ministers were in Brussels because they had previously attended the meeting between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) that took place on Monday and Tuesday.
The Argentine Foreign Minister stressed that the negotiators agreed with their counterparts to continue exchanging documents within the next few days, since the positions of the two sides "are already defined and each side is aware of the areas that are sensitive for the other side."
"In an economic-trade agreement, everything is included. Many things must be considered," the Foreign Minister stated when asked about the issues under discussion. "Talks remain open on more than one issue. This is not only about automobiles, or geographic indications, or agricultural products, or rules of origin. All of these chapters are under negotiation together with many others, on which progress has been made in this round. This is a long, complex and highly ambitious negotiation, as it is five times larger than the EU - Japan Agreement and nearly eight times larger than the EU - Canada Agreement," he added.
"We expect to resume the technical work and discuss the remaining aspects soon, so that we can then meet in Montevideo, the current seat of the Mercosur Pro Tempore Presidency, and make progress," he stated, adding that "everything has to be agreed on so that we can conclude the agreement."
Faurie recalled that "Argentina is a country with a track record of forging ties with European peoples; we share a vast history, owing to immigration and our shared values, ideas and vision of the world, democracy and human rights, and we also want a fair and equal trading system with multilateral rules. Therefore, it is only natural for Mercosur to forge ties with the EU."
Sica, in turn, highlighted the fact that "during the meetings, we made significant progress in the area of cars and car parts, as well as on agriculture." "In order for our country to grow in a sustainable fashion and make progress towards the goal of reducing poverty, Argentina needs to significantly improve its insertion into the world and this agreement is key to achieving that goal," he added.
Minister Etchevehere underscored the importance of the progress made, stressing that "international agreements help avoid protectionism. Through these agreements, producers are afforded the certainty that their products can access different markets with clear rules and fair trade and conditions, which lead to more job opportunities."
Press Release No. 298/18