“Certain questions remain that Europe must answer,” Argentine economy minister Sergio Massa said days ago, along with his Brazilian counterpart, Fernando Haddad, on the occasion of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s visit to Argentina. However, more than 20 years after the start of negotiations, the European Union (EU) and Mercosur could be close to reaching this long-delayed trade pact.
Argentina and Brazil called on the European Union to “eliminate the barriers” that affect the competitiveness of their products within the framework of the agreement between the two blocs dating from 2019, not yet ratified. These impediments would have entered a resolution channel after the meeting of the President of Brazil with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Brasilia
During the press conference, the two leaders spoke in favor of accelerating the ratification of the agreement, negotiations that began in 2000 and concluded in June 2019. One of the differences raised, and that Scholtz would have promised to resolve in the European government in Brussels, how to adapt the new environmental legislation of the EU, practically a barrier to the competitiveness of the South American bloc.
Historically, the Twenty-seven have denounced the clearing and degradation of the Amazon rainforest, especially razed under the leadership in Brazil of the right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro, at a rate three times higher than that observed more than ten years ago.
According to different environmental organizations, the extension of the deforested areas during the mandate of the ultra-conservative, in power since January 1, 2019, with the support of the lobby of certain sectors, compromised almost 40,000 square kilometers of tropical forest, a larger area than the extension of Belgium.
Ratifying the will expressed in the Lula-Scholz bilateral, the German deputy Anna Cavazzini, representative of the Green Party, part of the German ruling coalition, but who is also president of the delegation for relations with Brazil, maintained that “an agreement would not have An agreement with former President Bolsonaro has not been possible”, however “now he has left and there is a new government, so it will be easier »
For Europe, in times of crisis, looking for other markets is a priority agenda item. If the pact is reached, the free trade agreement will be the largest concluded in terms of the affected population – 780 million people – and the trade volumes covered, 40 to 45 billion euros of imports and exports.
Also at the center of the debate is China‘s flirting with the lack of progress in the file between the EU and Mercosur. In addition, from Uruguay, President Luis Lacalle Pou expressed his desire to seek a free trade agreement with the Xi Jinping regime on his own.
The situation is observed mainly by the government of Brazil which hastens, showing the advances to Europe in the new environmental policy, the unlocking of the obstacles that do not allow ratification. However, although this new approach to environmental conservation exists, the agreement confronts political and economic sectors, which demand, to give the green light, additional regulations.
Although with political coincidences with Brazil, the person in charge of the Argentine economy, Sergio Massa, warned that these treaties “cannot be advantageous for one party and not for the others, otherwise they are not agreements, but constraints”, referring to the distance in the EU’s agricultural subsidy policies, which according to the official harm Brazilian and Argentine producers.
On many occasions the agreement has been presented as “cars for cows”. The European bloc would seek to promote exports of automobiles and machinery, in exchange for allowing greater imports from the Mercosur countries of agricultural products, and now with the war in Ukraine, energy resources.
Times rush definitions. Olaf Scholz advanced with commitments when he guaranteed that Germany would again contribute to the International Fund for the Amazon (created in 2006 by Lula da Silva), with a new payment of 35 million euros.
From a political point of view, analysts maintain that the current Swedish presidency of the EU is more prone to trade agreements, but fundamentally, in the second semester, the Spanish presidency, with Pedro Sánchez at the head of Moncloa and the representation of the Twenty-seven, will weigh the historical ties to seal this treaty. The schedule says that, once the agreement is closed, approval will be sought in the European Parliament.
There is another political rush. Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro hastens plans to confirm an Ibero-American socialist bloc subservient to his “big brothers”, Russia, China, and even Iran. To this end, it has already spoken with presidents Alberto Fernández, Lula da Silva and Gustavo Petro to “join the efforts and paths of Latin America and the Caribbean to advance in the formation of a powerful bloc of political forces, of economic power that will speak to the world.” with Infobae