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LATIN AMERICA | 15-09-2023 16:27

Mercosur responds to EU document of environmental demands

Mercosur responds to EU document outlining environmental demands amid moves to close free-trade agreement between both blocs.

Mercosur members have responded to the document submitted by the European Union (EU) in March detailing environmental demands in order to conclude the free-trade agreement between both blocs.

“Mercosur’s reply was sent on Wednesday evening, and on Thursday there was a videoconference between negotiators from both blocs to progress in talks”, according to a source.

This source, which wished to remain anonymous because they are not authorised to speak on the subject officially, did not provide details on the contents of the response.  

Mercosur – made up of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – and the EU have been trying to finalise a free-trade agreement since they reached an agreement “in principle” in 2019, after over two decades of tough negotiations, without it being ratified yet.

Yet a document added to the agreement, presented in March by the European bloc of 27 countries, laid out fresh environmental requirements related to the farming sector, caused resentment among the South American countries.

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, inaugurated in July as “pro-tempore” leader of Mercosur, warned then against the EU’s “impositions” and urged his partners to argue an answer with an alternative “not placing the sword on the head” of the South American bloc.

“There will be consistent dialogue between the parties. There have been frequent meetings”, the same source added, who revealed that Lula’s public manifestations may be considered a “guideline” for the tone of the response sent to the EU on Wednesday. 

 

– TIMES/AFP

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