MONTEVIDEO – The European Union is committed to expediting talks with Mercosur on a trade agreement, the 28-nation bloc’s ambassador to Uruguay said on Thursday.
“The two delegations are very convinced that we need to give this negotiation a burst of speed before the end of the year and on the EU’s part there is a conviction and very clear instructions to try to accelerate the negotiation as much as possible,” Juan Fernandez Trigo told EFE at the 1st European Investment Forum in Uruguay.
Teams from Mercosur and the EU met last month in Argentina and the next formal negotiating round will begin July 3, the Spaniard said.
“We have the expectation of accelerating this negotiation as much as possible. I believe there is a good working environment. It’s true that there is also a lot to do, since it’s a negotiation that was stalled for a long time,” Fernandez Trigo said.
The ambassador, who organized the Montevideo forum in partnership with the Uruguay XXI investment and foreign trade agency, spoke about the “enormous potential” of an EU-Mercosur trade accord.
“We must not forget that the level of European investment in Mercosur that already exists is around 400 billion euros ($446 billion). So, if we create a market of 750 million people, that expanded investment could generate some very, very significant numbers,” the ambassador said.
EU countries now account for 37 percent of foreign direct investment in Latin America and that figure could grow, he said.
Regarding Uruguay in particular, Fernandez Trigo said that European businesses perceive the country as the gateway to Mercosur and as a nation that “offers a series of institutional advantages.”