One of the objectives of the trade policy set by the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union as a priority to be completed in this six months, the complete signing of the free trade agreement with Mercosur, has moved away.
Despite the attempts of the Government of Pedro Sánchez to take advantage of the informal meeting of Ministers of Trade held this Friday in Valencia, it is France that holds the doubts of some of the European partners because of the issues that are still pending . which will be resolved in matters of environmental sustainability and guarantees of agricultural products linked to that agreement.
Although the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez, continues to be optimistic about the possibility of bringing the negotiations held every week to a successful conclusion, he had to admit to journalists that it will be difficult to close this year. A situation confirmed by the French Minister of Foreign Trade, Olivier Becht. “I think we need more time to reach an agreement and make sure we have these environmental guarantees,” he assured, adding that for his country it is important to avoid unfair competition in the face of “strength and health. standards that we have already imposed on our own companies and producers in Europe”.
On the part of the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) additional sustainability guarantees are also requested, but more linked to social aspects, as explained by the Spanish Government.
The fringes earrings
Among the claims from Paris, in addition to the European needs to fight deforestation, one of the hot spots, there is an insistence on including mirror measures on things like animal welfare and antibiotics to guarantee that producers on both sides of the Atlantic can be approved.
The Secretary of State for Commerce, It reached four years ago. “This is a red line,” he said after explaining that what is now being negotiated almost against the clock is an additional instrument to the agreement.
Méndez said that in the meeting “the message was expressed to push as much as possible until December” to try the signature, but he acknowledged that it is difficult to determine the hours still needed to close the process. It seems more possible to meet the deadlines for sealing another bilateral agreement that has been negotiated for many years, Chile.
The agenda of the meeting also mentioned the progress of negotiations for an agreement with India, an agreement that for Europe should be a reference for other developing powers. Trade security was also addressed, with possible measures for foreign investments in critical technologies, although Méndez pointed out that it is still in the analysis phase.
Another issue that was overrated at the summit was the talks with the United States to completely end the tariff war on steel and aluminum, something that could be achieved before the end of the year.