Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra met today in Brussels with the European Union Trade Commissioner, Anna Cecilia Malmström, and held meetings with her Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, and with the Chief Negotiator for the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, Sandra Gallina.
“This is a process in consolidation. We started off as committed but somewhat mutually skeptical. We are building up trust, so that we can overcome this stage and have both parties put the complete offer in the negotiation table,” said Malcorra in a press round. Furthermore, she referred to the recent negotiations between MERCOSUR and the EU in Buenos Aires as “highly positive.”
“In every agreement it is necessary to move forward with simpler items first, in order to build up mutual trust and then deal with more sensitive aspects. This is a negotiation technique: there are more sensitive issues that have an impact on some EU countries and that must be taken into account not to adversely affect the agreement,” stated Malcorra.
The Foreign Minister announced: “President Macri will go to Strasbourg to dedicate some time to the negotiation itself and to communicate the issue, because both in Europe and in MERCOSUR there are interested parties that need to be involved and understand what is being undertaken. This is not only a trade issue; it is also a highly political issue.”
Malcorra underscored that: “with all the advances reached we could draft a text and reach a final agreement on schedule, that is, no later than this year or next year. We would like to make an announcement when the WTO meeting is held this December in Buenos Aires. These agreements need to be dynamic; they cannot be static: as time goes by, they have to be enriched and updated.”
As regards the meeting with the Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, Malcorra stated: “We have a full agenda. Next year, president Macri will go on a state visit and a delegation of businesspersons will visit Argentina. We have been working on that agenda.”
When asked about the situation of MERCOSUR, the Argentine Foreign Minister stated: “The four founding countries of MERCOSUR converge; there is a much stronger conviction that what made us come together is now more valid than ever. There was a time when Brazil and Argentina were mutually excused to postpone openness issues that had a greater impact on smaller countries, which now see that our plans are really ambitious.”
“Some days ago there was a meeting of 16 ministers, including Foreign Ministers and Ministers of Trade of MERCOSUR and the Pacific Alliance, to discuss how to promote closer contacts. We are working with the EFTA, Singapore, ASEAN, China and multiple potential partners, as an integrated State in order to achieve a strong negotiation position,” Malcorra finished.
Press Release No. 134/17
Press Office: 4819-7375 / 8296 / 7388
Originally published at https://www.cancilleria.gob.ar/en/news/releases/brussels-malcorra-anounces-progress-mercosur-eu-agreement