At the start of his trip to Latin America, Chancellor Olaf Scholz urgently called for the deadlocked negotiations on the free trade agreement between the EU and the South American federation Mercosur to be restarted.
"Negotiations have lasted long enough," said Scholz yesterday (local time) after a meeting with Argentine President Alberto Ángel Fernández in Buenos Aires. "That's why it's important that everyone now contributes with a constructive spirit so that we can join hands and find a way to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion soon."
It is also about protecting the rainforest
The EU has been negotiating a trade agreement with Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) since 1999. While a breakthrough was achieved in 2019, there are still unanswered questions, especially when it comes to protecting the Amazon rainforest. The agreement would create a market of more than 700 million people, covering nearly 20 percent of the global economy and 31 percent of global goods exports.
Scholz was optimistic that an agreement could be reached. "I discovered good spirit and goodwill here," he said. Fernandez said he agreed with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: "We want to push this agreement and make it work. It would benefit Latin America and especially Mercosur, it would benefit Europe, and it would also strengthen multilateralism in a world that's about to go bipolar again."
Fernandez pointed out that there were still obstacles. "But our wish is that we can come to an agreement soon and get the agreement up and running." There have also recently been differences of opinion between the Mercosur countries. Argentina's left-wing government wants to protect the domestic economy from international competition, while the right-wing governments in Uruguay and Brazil want to remove trade barriers before the change of government there at the turn of the year.