By Alexander Prieto
Montevideo, May 24 (EFE).- The European Union is optimistic that a trade deal with the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) will be announced in July, Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, told EFE in an interview Wednesday.
Lange was leading a European delegation that traveled to Brazil and Uruguay to flesh out trade and investment partnerships between the European Union and Mercosur member states when he sat down with Efe to discuss the deal’s progress.
“I hope indeed that (…) there will be a political announcement” during the summit on the 17th and 18th of July in Brussels that will bring together European, Latin American and Caribbean leaders to renew and strengthen relations between the regions, Lange said.
Although the partnership was penned in 2019 it has not been ratified by the European Parliament yet.
The German Social Democrat refrained from calling the deal a free trade agreement, saying “we are not just focusing on tariffs and non-tariff barriers.
“We want to have an economic relation with us based on sustainability which is really bringing benefit for the people on the ground and is saving the environmental situation and also having a part in the fight against climate change,” he added.
Lange explained that one of the setbacks to the deal was Jair Bolsonaro’s government (2019-2022) in Brazil, which he accused of “not fulfilling” environmental obligations and of turning a blind eye to illegal logging and fires in the Amazon.
For Lange, the recent power shift in Brazil that saw Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva win January’s elections is key to the agreement regaining momentum.
“I’m quite convinced that this will happen quite soon and we will find a positive result,” Lange said of the prospect of ratifying the investment partnership between both regions.
“This old Washington consensus, everybody is playing the same according to the same rules and everybody accepts this and our partners agree… I guess this was an illusion, but this is my assessment,” he added.
“It’s really important to stabilize the economic development based on a fair partnership between reliable partners,” Lange said, highlighting the “economic and political importance to have this agreement in this uncertain and unsecure globalized world.”
The EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit will take place in Brussels on 17-18 July. EFE