Mercosur has witnessed several political and economic changes recently including Brazil’s parliamentary coup that placed President Michel Temer in power, the victory of Mauricio Macri in Mercosur, EU to Start Free Trade Negotiations Anew on Wednesday
Mercosur and the European Union will try to finally close a deal almost 20 long years in the making. South American bloc’s pro tempore President, Eladio Loizaga from Paraguay, confirms that there’s an agreement on 90 percent of stipulations.
Mercosur has witnessed several political and economic changes recently including Brazil’s parliamentary coup that placed President Michel Temer in power, the victory of Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s last presidential election and Venezuela’s suspension from the bloc
The said turn paved the way for new possibilities for finalizing an agreement, however such window might change as Brazil heads for national elections in October this year.
The last round of negotiations ended on February 9 without reaching agreement on key issues, such as quotas on Mercosur beef and ethanol exports, and preferential access for EU companies to participate in public contracting.
As far as Loizaga is concerned, the beef quota issue is resolved with the bloc’s acceptance of EU’s last offer which increased the quota from 77,000 to 99,000 tons. Such is still an amount much lower than the 390,000 tons demanded by Mercosur last year.
Brussels appears to be not as optimistic. Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture said on Monday that “there are many areas in which we are not advancing as we should. We are not receiving the types of offers by Mercosur countries that we hope for, particularly in regards to industrial products.”
The free trade agreement is being rejected on both sides of the Atlantic led by workers, social movements, academics and politicians due to the secretive and “undemocratic” character of inter-bloc negotiations.
Those who reject the agreement from South American countries do so out of fear for an open market policy of industrial goods and that access to public contracting would have negative repercussions on small and medium-size businesses causing a rise in unemployment.
Brazilian public health experts also warned about the free trade agreement with the EU would have a negative impact on Brazilians’ right to health care, particularly in access to HIV and Hepatitis C treatment.
Agricultural and environmental sectors in Europe add their voices in rejecting the possible deal. They also worry about the potential influx of cheaper agricultural produce would have on their own industries.