Canada, Mercosur to begin trade negotiations

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OTTAWA – Canada and South American trade bloc Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), recently agreed to launch negotiations toward a comprehensive Canada-Mercosur free trade agreement. The first round of negotiations will be in Ottawa from March 20-23.

The FTA talks signal a deepening of the relationship between Mercosur member states and Canada. Energy, extractive industries, infrastructure, environment, telecommunications, distribution and logistics, transportation and tourism are just some of the Canadian export industries that could benefit from preferential access to Mercosur markets, which represents more than 260 million consumers. Canadian consumers also would benefit from access to imports of goods and services from Mercosur countries.

“With a combined population of 260 million and a GDP of over $3 trillion, the Mercosur member countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay offer Canada an opportunity to deliver on its ambitious and diversified trade agenda with like-minded and fast-growing markets,” François-Philippe Champagne, Canadian Minister of International Trade, said in a statement.

Eladio Loizaga, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, which holds the Pro Tempore Presidency of the bloc said the agreement marked “…a historic day for the common market of the South, MERCOSUR, since the signing of the memorandum of understanding by the Foreign Ministers of the commercial bloc.”

Loizaga said FTA negotiations will enable the start of a commercial agreement “…that is inclusive, and progressive for the benefit of all the people.”

Champagne, along with Mercosur trade bloc ministers Jorge Marcelo Faurie, Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship; Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Marcos Jorge de Lima, Brazil’s Minister of Industry, Loizaga; and Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Uruguay’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, agreed to launch formal negotiations.

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