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ECONOMY | 26-04-2023 14:04

Brazil, Spain want EU-Mercosur deal by end of the year

Leaders of Brazil and Spain hope long-delayed trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur trade bloc can be finalised by the end of the year.

Brazil and Spain said Wednesday they hope a long-delayed trade deal between the European Union and four Latin American nations can be finalised by the end of the year.

The EU in 2019 reached a trade deal with the Mercosur trade bloc, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, after 20 years of negotiations.

But the deal has yet to be ratified, with some EU member states expressing concerns over Brazil's environmental record under former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. 

The deal has also sparked concern in Europe's agricultural sector.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said there was a good chance to dispel doubts and approve the deal during the second half of 2023 when Spain holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

Brazil will at the same time hold the presidency of Mercosur, he added during a joint news conference with visiting Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

"The coincidence is an extraordinary opportunity to try to bring our positions closer," the Socialist premier said.

"There are countries within the EU that have doubts about the culmination of this important agreement... but we will work to dispel these doubts."

Lula, as the Brazilian president if popularly known, agreed, saying the Spanish presidency of the EU "can be the opportunity to conclude this agreement".

"Someone needs to conclude it. Now to reach an agreement, everyone must win," he added.

The trade pact needs to be ratified individually by all 27 EU member states before it comes into effect.

Unlike his predecessor, Lula has made it a priority to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest which could help soften opposition from some EU nations.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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