Brazil hopes a Mercosur trade deal with the European Union (EU) can be finalized this year, ending a years-long delay and paving the way for increased trade between the two regions, government officials said on Sunday.
The European Union’s Mercosur bloc, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, concluded negotiations in 2019, but the deal was stalled amid concerns, especially in France, over deforestation in the Amazon and Brazil’s commitment to climate action.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has pledged to revise Brazil’s climate policy.
While Germany pushed for a quick deal, France said it was waiting for Brazil to make progress.
Speaking in Lisbon, Marcio Elias Rosa, senior secretary of Brazil’s Ministry of Development and Industry, said negotiations with the EU were ongoing and countries were discussing “socio-environmental requirements” imposed by the bloc.
“The signs are very positive,” Elias Rosa said. “Details are lacking, but I’m confident we’ll get the deal done and the agreement will be good.”
Elias Rosa said all MERCOSUR countries were working towards the same goal, but they needed to agree on some requirements.
“Brazil already meets the socio-ecological requirements of labor legislation,” said Elias Rosa. “It was necessary for others to agree, but we were very close.
“I would say we will close (the deal) this year.”
Elias Rosa said Portugal and neighboring Spain, which will take over the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2023, were “key allies” in negotiations with the bloc.
Along with other government officials, Elias Rosa is in Portugal as part of a five-day visit by Lula, his first visit to Europe since his election as president.