Brazil: No reason to oppose Mercosur–EU deal

The president’s spokesman replied to the French environment minister

Published in 09/10/2019 - 14:32 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Brasília

The president’s spokesman, Otávio Rêgo Barros, said there is no reason for a commercial agreement between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) not to be approved by its member countries.

“The Brazilian government recognizes that, in the negotiations for free trade between Mercosur and the European Union three key requirements have been met: political dialog, cooperation, and free trade. President Bolsonaro, as a result, sees no reason for expressing formal opposition to the accord,” Rêgo Barros told the press Tuesday (Oct 8).

The statement comes as a response to French Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne, who said agricultural terms in the free-trade deal cannot be subscribed to. “We can’t sign a commercial deal with a country that does not respect the Amazon forest or the Paris Agreement. France will not sign the agreement with Mercosur in these conditions,” she told TV broadcast BFM.

The Brazilian spokesman reiterated the fulfillment of environmental commitments on the Brazilian government’s part and insisted there is no reason to reject the agreement. “Bearing in mind the fulfillment of Brazil’s targets in the Paris Agreement and the commitment with the preservation and sustainable use of our forest, there is no reason for the agreement not to be approved by the countries in the two blocs.”

Massive market

Inked in June, the free-trade pact between Mercosur and the EU is the biggest treaty forged between the two economic blocs. Altogether, the countries that joined the agreement account for approximately 25 percent of the global economy and a market of 780 million people.

The pact stipulates the elimination of import tariffs on more than 90 percent of the goods traded between the two groups. For the products that will not have their tariffs abolished, priority import quotas will be introduced, with lower tariffs. For the deal to become effective, the government of each one of the 32 member countries must approve its terms, which is likely to take a few years.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Fábio Massalli / Augusto Queiroz

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