The recently concluded trade agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur countries was the main topic of the meeting of the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, Ambassador of Brazil Eduardo Botelho Barbosa and Ambassador of Argentina Estanislao Angel Zawels.
Mercosur consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Over 260 million people live in these countries and together make up the fifth economy of the world, not counting the EU. The Union is the biggest trade partner of the region, with over 20 percent of the total exchange. The EU is also the largest foreign investor in the region.
The biggest trade agreement ever reached by the Union has been negotiated for exactly twenty years, since the end of June 1999. The agreement will cement the close political and economic relations between the EU and Mercosur countries. It represents a clear commitment from both regions to rules based international trade and will give European companies an important head start into a market with an enormous economic potential. It will anchor important economic reforms and modernisation undergoing in Mercosur countries.
The EU-Mercosur region-to-region agreement will remove the majority of tariffs on EU exports to Mercosur, making EU companies more competitive by saving them 4 billion euros worth of duties per year. The agreement will open up new business opportunities in Mercosur for EU companies selling under government contracts, and to service suppliers in the information technology, telecommunications and transport sectors, among others.
The agreement upholds the highest standards of food safety and consumer protection, as well as the precautionary principle for food safety and environmental rules and contains specific commitments on labour rights and environmental protection, including the implementation of the Paris climate agreement. A dedicated sustainable development chapter will cover issues such as sustainable management and conservation of forests, respect for labour rights and promotion of responsible business conduct.
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