As pro-tempore president of the MERCOSUR, Brazil guaranteed that it would fast-track negotiations in the hope of presenting the agreement at the upcoming WTO conference.

During the 36th National Foreign Trade Event (link in Portuguese), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s minister of Industry, Trade, and Services, Marcos Pereira, emphasized how set his country is on reaching a free trade agreement between the MERCOSUR and the European Union (link in Spanish).

This intention had already been expressed in July 2017 at the Summit of the MERCOSUR Heads of State, when Brazil took over the pro-tempore presidency of the bloc.

“Brazil is hoping to announce the conclusion of negotiations for the agreement at the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, which will be held in December in Buenos Aires. As president of the MERCOSUR, Brazil will try to fast-track negotiations so that we can announce the agreement with the European Union at the end of the year,” Mr. Pereira explained.

Negotiations around the free trade agreement between the MERCOSUR and the EU (link in Spanish) have been going on for nearly two decades. After various setbacks and years of stagnation, they were relaunched in 2016. Two rounds of negotiations were held this year and the next will take place in Brasília in October.

The minister also commented that the MERCOSUR intends to negotiate with other blocs, such as the Pacific Alliance, and other countries, such as India, Canada, and South Korea. “We want to make up for lost time (…) Brazil has its sights set on free trade and facilitating the export process for business owners,” he added.