SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Tuesday he had told European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen that he wants to clinch a trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur while still presiding over the South American bloc.
Lula and von der Leyen had a phone call on Monday. According to the Brazilian leader, they will try to meet this month at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to advance talks towards the long-awaited deal.
Brazil holds Mercosur’s temporary presidency until the end of this year. The South American trading bloc also includes Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
“I showed her all our points and she said she would try to have a meeting with me at the COP28 to present their definitive response to our demands,” Lula said in a weekly live broadcast on social media.
A trade treaty was agreed in principle in 2019 after two decades of talks, but additional environmental commitments demanded by the EU led Brazil and Argentina to seek new concessions that prolonged negotiations.
Diplomats and trade experts do not expect far-right libertarian Javier Milei’s presidential election win in Argentina to derail the agreement. Milei has been a vocal critic of the South American common market.
Reuters reported on Monday that according to Brazilian negotiators, there were few details left to negotiate and they planned to announce the deal at a Mercosur summit on Dec. 7 in Rio de Janeiro, before Argentina’s change of government.
(Reporting by Gabriel Araujo, editing by Ed Osmond and Sharon Singleton)
Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.