(Adds comments from Brazil Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes,
recasts first paragraph)
BUENOS AIRES, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Trade talks between the
European Union and South America's Mercosur bloc are approaching
agreement on a deal on the sidelines of the World Trade
Organization ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, negotiators
from both sides said on Tuesday.
The deal could come early in the new year, European Trade
Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters.
"We have made good advancement but there's still stock
taking today," Malmstrom said. "We see the end of this."
Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes later told
reporters that Mercosur and the European Union have exchanged
notes on how far each side is willing to cede ground to reach a
free trade deal.
"They asked us how far we could move in their direction and
we asked the same. We are waiting for their reaction to our
proposal to see if we can conclude the toughest part of the
negotiations which is market access," he said.
Nunes said Mercosur is committed to removing tariffs from 90
percent of its trade with the EU.
Resistance by some EU member states, such as Ireland and
France, to agricultural imports, has delayed negotiation of the
trade pact that seeks to liberalize trade and investment,
services and access to public procurement.
Mercosur members Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay
have pushed for an improvement on the EU offer of tariff-free
imports for 70,000 tonnes a year of beef and 600,000 tonnes of
ethanol a year.
(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski, Luc Cohen and Anthony Boadle;
Editing by Bernadette Baum)
First Published: 2017-12-12 21:31:36
Updated 2017-12-12 21:59:12
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