7 Queries for Mercosur, III: Leaning over EU and U.S.?

The European Union (EU) and Mercosur exchanged revised market access offers in May in an attempt to re-launch long-stalled free trade negotiations.

(Soundbite) Rosendo Fraga, Argentine Political Analyst
“I think that the EU-Mercosur agreement needs more political reasons than economic reasons. EU has shown that it can move forward despite the difficulties arising from the political point of view, and given Mercosur a sign of vitality after prolonged stagnation.”

As a major Mercosur member, Argentina has called for greater “flexibility” in order to advance in negotiations on a trade treaty with EU, as a prelude to resume exchange with the United States.

(Soundbite) Rosendo Fraga, Argentine Political Analyst
“Europe is not easy. Europe has witnessed a boom of anti-globalization and required all (member) countries to agree. It seems unlikely that progress can be made soon, but anyway, in recent months we have advanced more than ever before.”

EU is Mercosur’s first trading partner, accounting for 20 percent of Mercosur’s total trade, or 125 billion U.S. dollars in 2013.

(Soundbite) Carlos Gonzales, Peruvian Economist
“The U.S. and EU are no longer very large markets, though they are still very important. The U.S. is composed of 50 states and each state almost equals the size of an average country in the world. The EU economy includes 27 different bodies which are very large and attractive. These market options can’t be dismissed, in addition to the Asian market which is growing even faster.”

Mercosur was the sixth most important export market for EU in 2013. EU exports to the region totaled 64 billion U.S. dollars the same year.

(Soundbite) Ronnie Lins, Director of Center of China-Brazil Research and Business
“England is now prohibiting foreign workers, and Russia has problems with meat. So, even though people said that EU and the U.S. would be getting close to us, this is not true. Everything will have to be negotiated, because all the countries want to develop more. Whatever is going to do, the difference in Mercosur now is that the focus is economy rather than politics in the past.”

Traditionally before the leftist governments ruled, Argentina and Brazil had EU and the United States as their strategic trade and financial partner.
Now with center-to-right cabinets and presidents, the tide seems back, strong and raucous.

(Soundbite) Miguel Rodriguez, Legal and Diplomatic Expert of Peru
“Of course, we can’t neglect EU as well as the United States. This is multi-lateralization. Only in this way, Mercosur will be able to recreate dynamic and permanent action.”

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