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Mercosur Replies To EU Trade Deal Addendum, Talks To Resume, Brazil Says

By Reuters
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Mercosur Replies To EU Trade Deal Addendum, Talks To Resume, Brazil Says

Brazil's Foreign Ministry has said that Mercosur's response to the European Union's additions to their long-awaited trade accord has been delivered to Brussels and negotiators will meet by video-conference later in the day.

Splits within South American trade bloc Mercosur have dampened European hopes for the trade deal that was reached in 2019 after two decades of negotiations but has been on hold due to environmental concerns. Brazil currently holds the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur.

"Mercosur's response to the EU was sent last night [13 September]," a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

"Today there is a video-conference between Mercosur and the EU to advance the discussion, which has been the subject of frequent meetings between negotiators," he said.

Two European diplomats confirmed this was the case.

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Environmental Safeguards

Earlier this year, the EU presented Mercosur with an addendum to the agreement that included environmental safeguards to address reservations by many EU member states.

Diplomats worry the accord, which would represent the largest trade deal struck by the EU in terms of population, could fall apart if it does not get completed by the end of the year.

EU negotiators have been waiting for Mercosur's reply since March. Many had hoped for a swift conclusion to the agreement under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who overhauled Brazil's environmental policies to protect the Amazon rainforest since taking office this year.

In June 2019, the European Union and the states comprising the Mercosur nations – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached a political agreement on a deal that seeks to increase bilateral trade and investment between the two blocs, reduce or remove tariffs, improve the conditions for investment on both sides, and promote joint values, such as sustainable development and environmental protection.

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