New round of negotiations between the EC and Mercosur will start on Monday

The European Commission and the countries that make up Mercosur - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay - will hold a new round of negotiations in Buenos Aires next week, from Monday to Wednesday, to advance the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement.

In February, the European Commission and the representatives of Mercosur held technical meetings to prepare the Bi-regional Negotiations Committee meeting, which will be held from March 20 to the 24 in Buenos Aires. The issues discussed in February were public procurement, market access for goods, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, services, and investment.

Brazil has been the only country of the Mercosur bloc that has presented Europe with opportunities for the fresh fruit and vegetables sector in recent years. In 2016, Spain exported 109 million euro to Brazil, i.e. 23% more than in 2015. In the last five years, from 2012 to 2016, exports have increased by 78% going from 61 million euro to 109 million euro. Brazil's growing importance for the sector will be reflected in this year's FRUIT ATTRACTION fair, as Brazil and China are this year's Invited Importer Countries. The organizers of FRUIT ATTRACTION, FEPEX and IFEMA are processing invitations to the authorities of both countries and will allocate a budget to attract the main players in these markets to Madrid.

There were virtually no exports to Argentina in the last five years. In 2014 they exported 68 tons worth 37,278 euro. In the past year, however, they exported 6,210 tons worth 4.5 million euro. Meanwhile, Spanish exports to Uruguay in 2016 grew by 18% when compared to 2015, totaling 2.4 million euro. Spain didn't make exports to Paraguay, nor did it import anything from that country.

Argentina, however, is one of Spain's leading suppliers of fruit and vegetables, as it ranks fifth among its supplying countries, with 137 million euro in 2016, i.e. 100% more than in 2015. In 2016, imports from Brazil totaled 96.1 million euro (-1%), and imports from Uruguay amounted to 10 million euro (-18%), according to data from the Directorate General of Customs, processed by FEPEX.

Representatives of the various Community institutions, such as the European Commission and the European Council, have repeatedly stated their interest in reaching an agreement with Mercosur. The last time they did was last week, when the President of the European Council stressed that the EU wanted to move forward with determination in ongoing trade agreements with Mexico, Mercosur, and Japan. The European Commission will hold a new meeting with Mexico in early April.


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