Brazil trusts Mercosur and the European Union can exchange the proposed tariff lists for a free trade agreement keeping to the original schedule, before the end of the year, according to the country’s foreign ministry.
“We are in the final stages of the Mercosur common proposal, all country-members are committed and we trust that the timetable will be met”, said Ronaldo Costa Filho, head of International Negotiations from the ministry.
Mercosur and Europe agreed last January during a ministerial meeting that both sides would be presenting their tariff-list proposal to open respective markets at the end of 2013, so as to advance with the negotiation, re-launched in 2010 following a six year stall.
In a summit at the beginning of the year in Brasilia EU president Herman Van Rompuy and President Dilma Rousseff pledged a “quick” conclusion of the agreement. Brazilian industry lobbies have come out strongly in favor of two-speed negotiation if there is no agreement among Mercosur members.
The initiative has the support of Uruguay but Brazil although exhausted with its ‘strategic patience’ towards Argentina, remains officially mute on the issue, calling for compliance with the timetable.
Under the Mercosur charter, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and the latest incorporation, Venezuela, must negotiate trade agreements as a group. Brazil is doing its utmost to keep in the fold. Venezuela is still in the process of adapting its rules and tariffs to those of Mercosur and will not be of the party, yet.