Free Trade negotiations Mercosur-EU: Brazil says offer is ready. EU asks clear signal.

EUBrasil Association promoted on Tuesday 21st of April a meeting with the objective of allowing the orange juice, ethanol and sugar sectors to illustrate some trade barriers between Brazil and the European Union (EU). The negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between Mercosur and the EU were discussed during the debate. Around 30 participants attended the event.

The roundtable opened with a presentation by Tim Kaden, Citrosuco’s Sales Director, and Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs at UNICA (União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar).

The following two-hour debate took place under Chatham House rules.

Tim Kaden

Tim Kaden, Citrosuco’s Sales Director

After the meeting, EUBrasil’s President Luigi Gambardella emphasized the importance of such events, which lead to a better understanding amongst the European Institutions, the Brazilian Government and the industry of both sides. “We have many challenges in front of us, such as the EU-Mercosur negotiations and continuous dialogue is needed”.

EUBrasil requested two statements illustrating the topics discussed:

The Head of Division for South America of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Adrianus Koetsenruijter, said that “the EU needs reassurances from the Mercosur countries for a proper negotiation to avoid a failure because if we can’t agree on the terms of the negotiation it would be very regretful and could put the final agreement back as far as e.g. 2030, which nobody wants”.

According to the Head of the Brazilian Mission to the EU, Ambassador Vera Machado, “Brazil and the European Union share the view on the importance of progressing in the negotiations for a Mercosur-EU trade agreement. Mercosur has already provided its joint offer for market access and is ready for the next step: the exchange of offers with the European Union”.

Brazilian ethanol

On the tariff barriers, Géraldine Kutas reiterated: “The Brazilian sugarcane ethanol has all the environmental, economic and social credentials to complement European production and help the EU reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. It is a pity that this potential cannot materialize because of the import tariff that currently stands at €0.19 /Liter”.


Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs at UNICA (União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar)

Brazilian orange juice

Tariff-related issues on orange juice penalize both Europeans and Brazilians. “The major problem is that we live in a shrinking environment (on both sides), we have less and less fruit supply and on the other hand we have less and less fruits and processed fruits (juice) consumed”, declared Tim Kaden.

“If nothing gets done, Kaden added, this will lead to serious problems for Brazilian farmers who do not receive enough money for the fruit and in Europe for fruit farmers and processors processing less and less. Besides, he emphasized a significant decrease of fruit juice consumption.

“One suggestion would be to use some of the tariff money to promote juice in Europe. This would benefit both the Brazilian farmers and the European juice farmers and processors”, he concluded.