The European Commission has summarized progress made during the latest round of negotiations for a trade agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur group of four South American countries.
According to the Commission, during the round that took place in the week
beginning March 20, 2017, meetings took place in working groups covering 15
different areas of the negotiations.
The EU tabled textual proposals on Trade and Sustainable Development, Transparency,
access to energy and raw materials, an annex on technical barriers to trade
in the automotive sector, and a proposal on agriculture including provisions
on bilateral and multilateral cooperation, wine and spirits, and other topics,
the Commission said.
The parties also agreed to merge their proposals into consolidated texts. They reached a provisional agreement on a full text covering competition, the
Both sides agreed to hold an inter-sessional round in Buenos Aires at the end
of May 2017, with the next full round due to take place in July.
The negotiations involve 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 the trade negotiations but is 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-Mercosur FTA negotiations re-launched in May 2010. Ten negotiation rounds
before negotiations were paused in 2012. These focused mostly on rules (as opposed to market access commitments). Negotiations then recommenced in October
The EU is Mercosur's largest trading partner, accounting for 21 percent of
the four-nation bloc's total trade in 2015.
The EU's exports to the region have increased from EUR21bn (USD22.25bn) in
2005 to EUR46bn in 2015. Mercosur's exports have increased from EUR32bn to EUR42bn
over the same period.
Mercosur's biggest exports to the EU in 2015 were agricultural products, such
as foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco (24 percent); vegetable products, including soya
and coffee (18 percent); and meats and other animal products (six percent). Other exports include
mineral products (14 percent), wood and paper products (eight percent), and machinery (five percent).
The EU's exports to Mercosur include machinery (29 percent), vehicles and parts (17 percent
of total exports), and chemicals and pharmaceuticals (24 percent).