Brazil says that Mercosur and the EU have a more political than technical challenge

Mercosur and the European Union (EU) have a more political than technical "challenge" to achieve the conclusion of the trade agreement they have negotiated for almost two decades, official Brazilian sources said today.

"The challenge is not associated with the time for negotiation" or the technical aspects, which are almost completed except in some sectors, explained at a press conference the director of Trade Negotiations of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, André Odenbreit.

According to the diplomat, there is a need to agree on aspects of the negotiation in the automotive, agricultural and government procurement sectors, but the "challenges" go through "getting a political understanding that leads to a satisfactory balance for both parties."

Odenbreit said that the Brazilian government works according to the "guidelines" drawn up by the current president, Michel Temer, who on January 1 will hand over power to the elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has not yet spoken about that negotiation.

Still, he considered that the doubts about Bolsonaro recently expressed by some European leaders, such as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel or the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, will not weigh on the negotiations.

Macron said ten days ago that would subordinate France's support to an agreement with Mercosur to the position that Bolsonaro adopts on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which the president-elect has said Brazil could abandon next year.

Merkel, for his part, said this week that the agreement between Mercosur and the EU "will not be easy" with Bolsonaro, who has announced that his government intends to give priority to bilateral trade agreements over multilateral ones.

However, Odenbreit said that "it is difficult at this moment to foresee how the declarations of some EU Member States influence the mandate of the European Commission" for the negotiation, and pointed out that there are "political signals" that point towards a "Quick conclusion" of the discussions.

Doubts about the position that Bolsonaro will adopt in the face of Mercosur's dealings with the EU, however, have also been installed in the South American bloc and this week they were commented by the Uruguayan Minister of Economy, Danilo Astori.

"There is the incognito of Brazil, which has not yet shown a course, in my opinion, clear in terms of international policy, in terms of integration, in terms of seeking agreements with other blocs, I think we have to give ourselves a little bit of time to see how Brazil will act, "said the Uruguayan minister.


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