In the framework of a meeting organized by the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE), representatives of the Subdirectorate General for Trade Policy of the EU Ministry of Industry spoke about the most relevant aspects of the political agreement reached between the European Commission and Mercosur, despite the fact that there is still uncertainty about basic aspects, such as the dismantling of tariffs by products.
The Deputy Director-General of the European Union’s Commercial Policy of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Rocio Frutos, said that, according to the estimated timetable for the approval of the agreement between the European Commission and Mercosur, the agreement won’t be approved by the Council until the summer of 2020. Subsequently, it must be approved by the European Parliament, which is scheduled to happen in 2021. In addition, a part of the agreement must be ratified by national parliaments.
The deputy director spoke about the basic aspects of the political agreement, stressing that there are still technical details to be specified. Among the general aspects that are known and that affect the agricultural food sector, it is worth noting that Mercosur will gradually liberalize 93% of the tariffs on EU exports, including tariffs on wine, olive oil, and fresh fruits, among others. She also said that the EU will liberalize 82% of agricultural food imports and that it approved quotas for sensitive products.
However, according to FEPEX, there’s still uncertainty about basic aspects that affect the fruit and vegetable sector, such as the dismantling of tariffs by products, both in terms of ad valorem duties and entry prices, reciprocal sanitary and phytosanitary conditions to access the market and the application process of the safeguard clause.
FEPEX is also concerned about the strong imbalance that already exists between Spanish and Community fruit and vegetable exports to the Mercosur countries and imports from those countries. In 2018, Spanish fruit and vegetable exports to the four Mercosur countries stood at 87.5 million euro, while imports amounted to 287 million euro, according to data from the General Directorate of Customs.
Meanwhile, EU fruit and vegetable exports to Mercosur in the same year stood at 218 million euro, while imports stood at 1,363 million euro, according to Eurostat data.