Brazil Urges for Acceleration of Morocco-Mercosur Negotiations on Free Trade

Brazil Urges for Acceleration of Morocco-Mercosur Negotiations on Free Trade

Mercosur aims to strengthen its trade relations with Arab countries with the goal of establishing a South American-Arab business and investment bloc.

Brazil has reiterated its willingness to accelerate the negotiations of the free trade agreement between Morocco and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur).

Brazil, which holds the pro tempore presidency of the Mercosur, said it is consulting with Morocco on the possibility of resuming trade negotiations with the Southern Common Market.

ANBA news agency quoted the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that the Brazilian embassy in Rabat is consulting with Morocco on reviving trade negotiations interrupted in 2018.

“The Brazilian government wishes to resume negotiations on free trade agreements between Mercosur and Arab countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon,” the foreign ministry added, according to ANBA.

COVID-19 restrictions were among the factors that led to the suspension of trade negotiations between Mercosur and the aforementioned countries.

In October last year, Brazil emphasized the importance of concluding agreements with Arab countries.

“Brazil seeks to speed up the signing of free trade agreements between the Southern Common Market (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) and several Arab countries, including Morocco,” Roberto Fendt, the Special Secretary for Foreign Trade and of International Affairs of the Ministry of the Economy, said at last year’s Brazil-Arab Countries Economic Forum.

He added that Mercosur aims to strengthen its trade relations with Arab countries, citing opportunities such a partnership could offer.

The South American trade bloc has concluded only one free trade agreement with Arab countries. The agreement was with Egypt, and the deal entered into force in September 2017 after negotiations.

“The negotiations of the free trade agreement between Mercosur and Tunisia were suspended in 2017,” the Brazilian ministry added.

Mercosur has also started negotiations for a free trade agreement with Lebanon. However, talks were halted due to the pandemic, but there are reports that the two parties resumed talks in recent months.

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