The agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay), which was signed in 2019 after 20 years of negotiation, might only become a reality by the end of 2021 due to the difficulties and discrepancies there are to ratify it, especially from some European countries regarding Brazil's environmental policy, and the impact that the pandemic has had on procedures.
This agreement establishes the largest free trade zone ever created by the EU (affecting 780 million people), liberalizing 99% of the EU's agricultural trade and opening Mercosur's market to 88% of the Community agricultural goods and 91% of its total exports. Despite offering advantages to producers and companies in the EU, many sectors fear the agreement's entry into force because it enhances access to the European market for world agricultural leaders, such as Brazil or Argentina.
Currently, the European Commission (EC) is verifying the legality of the agreement and translating it into all EU official languages to present it to the Council of Ministers of the EU (Governments of the 27) during the first months of 2021, according to the schedule released by the European Parliament (EP). After passing through the Council, the treaty will reach the European Parliament. It remains to be determined if it must also pass the examination of the EU national parliaments.
The question, as has been made clear in recent debates, is if MEPs and governments will approve the agreement or not. In October, the European Parliament warned that it wouldn't ratify the pact in its current state, due to the environmental policy of the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro.
Spanish agricultural organizations and cooperatives insist that the agreement must guarantee reciprocity and equality in the conditions of competition between the two blocks.
Mercosur's agricultural food surplus
According to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, Spain has a negative agri-food trade balance with Mercosur of nearly 2,800 million euro.
The EU had a surplus in global trade with Mercosur of 5,341 million in 2019 (41,229 exports and 35,888 imports).
However, in agricultural exchanges, the balance leans in favor of the Latin American bloc, which registered a surplus of 13,859 million in 2019 (2,201 million in exports and 16,060 million in imports), according to data from the EC.