Mercosur-EU talks to begin this month
Trade talks between the EU Commission and the Mercosur trading bloc will kick off at the end of the month.
The Commission has confirmed that the first round of technical negotiations will open in the Argentine capital, Buenos Airies, on Tuesday, June 29.
The talks process is expected to last for up to a year.
The opening of talks between the EU and the South American group -- which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay -- has been strongly criticised by the Irish farm organisations.
The process has also been opposed by several EU member States, including France and Ireland.
However, the talks have received strong backing from the Commission.
The push for bilateral trade agreements with Latin American states was intensified at a recent EU summit in Madrid, Spain, where the Commission held talks with the Caribbean trading group CARIFORUM, as well as Peru and Colombia.
However, Brussels sources have suggested that the talks process could stall as opposition from member states increases and the process is given less priority under the incoming Belgian presidency.