Brazil’s Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes said Wednesday (Jun. 13) that the free-trade deal between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) may be concluded before the general elections in Brazil in October this year. At a lower-house hearing, the minister reiterated that talks are on track to eliminate disagreement between the two blocs.
The chancellor noted that a mere 50 points of disagreement between Mercosur and the EU remain out of an original 300.
“We’re removing obstacles bit by bit. We’ve had a number of technical rounds and wrapped up last week with yet another round of negotiations. I hope we can conclude [the pact] this year, as early as possible, because elections are soon to be held in both Europe and Brazil.”
Some controversial issues are still to be addressed in the car sector, intellectual property—especially regarding medication patents—geographic indications, and maritime services, Nunes said. Regulations governing sugar and meat exports, particularly after Operation Weak Flesh, are also regarded among the “delicate” topics.
The minister went on to say that the deal, under negotiation for 18 years, has been intensely discussed in the last two years. He said that the conclusion of the agreement had been put off due to significant economic differences between the two blocs as well as the “severe” agricultural protectionism in some European countries.
Nonetheless, he said he believes that shelving the EU–US deal by means of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may help bring the European bloc closer to South America.
When questioned by lawmakers regarding the stance adopted by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry on Venezuela, Nunes restated that Brazil is interested in preserving diplomatic ties with the neighboring country, and has sought a peaceful solution that refrains from removing Venezuela from multilateral institutions, like the Organization of American States (OAS).
Aloysio Nunes was also asked by Congress members on the risk facing Brazil of losing the right to vote at international organizations, like the United Nations, due to the delayed payment for retaining the right to vote.
The chancellor referred to the situation as “really dramatic” as a result of the budgetary restrictions and accumulated deficits from previous years. However, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry has held talks with the Planning Ministry on the allocation of funds to retain the country’s services overseas and pay the minimum to ensure Brazil’s participation in these organizations.