Brazilian President Michel Temer said that, after 19 years of talks, Mercosur and the EU are near to closing a "definitive" deal. He took part in the inauguration ceremony of Chile's elected President Sebastian Pinera, in Valparaiso, on Sunday (Mar. 11).
The president said a few issues need settling before a free trade deal can be forged with the Europeans. Mercosur seeks to lower tariff barriers for products like grains and foodstuffs, of which member countries are major producers.
"There are still a few issues to be solved, but EU and Mercosur chancellors will be meeting very soon. I believe that, after 19 years, this is what Macri and I agreed on. We may definitively close a Mercosur-EU agreement soon," said the president, after meeting with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri.
Michel Temer went on to report that he talked with Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski about a prospective deal between the bloc formed by Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela and the Pacific Alliance, made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
The agenda with the neighboring country focuses on the expansion of trade between the nations, which is still seen as little intense. Also discussed are the decrease in custom fees, the promotion of small and medium businesses, reduced nontariff barriers, and the facilitated trade in goods and services.
"I've talked very briefly to [Pedro Pablo Kuczynski,] president of Peru, with a view to forging an alliance between Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance," he declared.
Temer took part in Pinera's inauguration ceremony, accompanied by Brazil's Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes. Brazil is the world's main destination of Chilean investment-which totals $31 billion-as well as its top trade partner in South America. Chile, in turn, is Brazil's second business partner in the region, with a commercial exchange adding up to some $8.5 billion in 2017.
"I've come to greet elected President Pinera, bearing in mind not just our strong commercial ties-of over $8 billion, which, as a matter of fact, increased considerably in 2015, 2016, and 2017," Temer noted.
This is the second time Pinera takes office as president. His first tenure had lasted from 2010 to 2014. He is replacing Michelle Bachelet and is to serve as president until 2022.