EU renews talks with Mercosur in Madrid

08:27, May 18, 2010      

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The European Union (EU) and Mercosur (Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay) on Monday renewed their talks in Madrid to reach a free trade agreement that would open up a potential market of 270 million people to the EU.

"It would be the EU's most important agreement," commented Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose country holds the EU rotating presidency. "It would mean an increase of 5 billion euros (6.2 billion U.S. dollars) in transactions, as well as serve as a message against protectionism in the middle of an economic crisis."

Meanwhile, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said that conversations would continue in the first week of July, while the Mercosur and Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, highlighted the friendly nature of the talks.

"It is not a question of negotiating with clients, but one of working with companions," she said.

Mercosur, which produces 20 percent of the world's beef cattle and 35 percent of soya bean, views the EU as an entry point into markets capable of giving added value. The EU meanwhile considers Mercosur one of the world's expanding marketplaces on the verge of important economic growth.

Source: Xinhua
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