Though previous attempts had stalled and even with the European Union’s economic fall from grace that looks unlikely to reverse itself anytime in the near term, Brazil looks to be spearheading effort to bolster trade opportunity.
Brazilian and EU officials met this week and announced an agreement to reboot free trade agreement (FTA) talks between the European bloc and the Mercosur group, which Brazil is a key part of. Mercosur also includes Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay and recent gainer Uruguay. There are also the possibility that Brazil could negotiate a bilateral deal involving it and the EU, pending on how eventual talks go.
The first of the attempts to establish a Mercosur-EU FTA fell apart just short of a decade ago after five years of talks. Several nations in South America have been criticized for deeply protectionist behavior during various points in recent years. This is especially the case with Argentina and, to a lesser extent, Brazil. The latter, considered the pearl of the South/Latin American economies along with an emerging Mexico, rocked some proverbial trade boats as a slowdown in growth led its officials to place restrictions and/or tariffs on several types of imported products, such as from the U.S. automotive industry.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer