Beef farmers on alert as Brazilian President says Mercosur, EU 'a step away' from trade deal
Brazilian President Michel Temer said on Wednesday that Mercosur and the European Union were “a step away” from signing a free trade agreement.
Temer’s comment, made during an economic council meeting in Brasilia, came a day after several European officials attending a G20 summit in Buenos Aires said that significant obstacles remained to the long-delayed trade deal.
Meanwhile, Spanish Economy Minister Roman Escolano told reporters on Tuesday that the final obstacles to a long-delayed trade deal between the European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur can be overcome.
“Spain is very clearly committed to bringing this project, which we have negotiated for many years, to an end in the coming weeks or months,” Escolano said on the sidelines of a meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Buenos Aires, adding that he had discussed the deal with counterparts from the EU, Argentina, and Brazil.
However, European officials said this week that significant obstacles remain to a long-delayed trade deal between the European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur, even as South American officials expressed optimism a deal would be finalized soon.
On the sidelines of a gathering among the finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 countries in Buenos Aires, an Argentine Treasury Ministry official said the talks would finish in the first half of this year. An initial target for December of last year was pushed back after EU countries said they needed more time.
“There are very few points left,” the official said, adding that Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne would meet with French finance minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday.
Farmers in France and some other EU members are resistant to an expected increase in beef and biofuel imports from Mercosur, which also includes Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Le Maire said European producers were concerned about unfair competition.