By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday (December 12th) that there is a limited time for the European Union (EU) and Mercosur to reach a trade agreement. According to Merkel, Brazil’s president-elect’s government, Jair Bolsonaro, may make negotiations harder.
“The time for an agreement between the EU and Mercosur is running out. The agreement must happen very quickly, otherwise it will not be as easy to achieve with the new government of Brazil,” Merkel said during a session of the Bundestag (German Parliament).
During his visit to Buenos Aires for the G-20 meeting, Macron said that his country would not be inclined to sign an agreement with a country that was discussing withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord.
The EU bloc exported to Mercosur in 2016 goods equivalent to €43.2 billion and imported €41.6 billion from there.
Brazilian officials, however, say that if a deal between Mercosur and the EU is not reached it won’t be because of Brazil.
“If Mercosur and the European Union do not have an agreement, it is not because Mercosur did not want to, it is because the European Union did not want to,” said Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi responding to Merkel’s remarks.
“Brazil has eased what it could ease … We eased (restrictions) even to the detriment of some sectors here domestically,” he told reporters.
Bolsonaro’s economic team expressed on several occasions that it prefers bilateral negotiations than a negotiation involving blocs, such as Mercosur.