16 Jan 2019
EU Chief Negotiator updates civil society on the state of play of negotiations with MercosurBrussels Daily
On Tuesday 15 January the European Commission held a meeting with civil society representatives on the state of play of trade negotiations between the EU and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).
At the meeting, EU Chief Negotiator and Deputy Director-General for Trade Sandra Gallina gave an overview of the overall state of play in the negotiations. She then opened up the floor to participants representing business associations, NGOs, trade unions and other civil society organisations and responded to question on the issues of particular interest to them.
The Chief Negotiator recalled that the EU remains strongly committed to the conclusion of an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced agreement with Mercosur. She further informed that the EU and Mercosur negotiating teams last time met in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 10 to 13 December. The discussions in this negotiation round covered a comprehensive set of topics and allowed for some useful progress and clarifications between the Parties. Both sides reconfirmed the strong political commitment to reach an agreement, but acknowledged that more work is still needed at technical level, notably on the key outstanding issues such as market access in Mercosur for cars and car parts, machinery, dairy, maritime services and adequate protection of EU geographical indications. Solutions in these areas are still outstanding and these issues will need to be tackled to allow for a successful conclusion of the negotiation process.
The Chief Negotiator refused to speculate on possible courses of action of the new Brazilian government and the impact this might have on ongoing negotiations. Following the elections in Brazil, a new President and government are in place and Mercosur is in the process of implementing the necessary adjustments to reflect these changes and provide the relevant clarifications.
The Chief negotiator also informed that the Parties remain in close contact and that meetings will resume under the Argentinian pro-tempore presidency of Mercosur in the first quarter of 2019 on dates to be decided.
More on the Mercosur negotiations (factsheet, round reports, EU proposals, exporters’ stories…)