BRUSSELS, April 20 Argentina hopes to have an
agreement on a free trade deal between the European Union and
the South American Mercosur bloc by the end of the year, its
foreign minister said on Thursday.
The European Union and Mercosur launched trade negotiations
in 1999, but they have faced multiple setbacks, partly due to
more than a decade of leftist rule in Argentina.
That government has now replaced by a more pro-business
government since late 2015 that advocates trade.
"We hope that it will be by the end of the year, but it is
not a deadline. It could be in the first quarter of the coming
year," Argentine foreign minister Susana Malcorra told a press
briefing in Brussels.
"We would like to at least make an announcement at the WTO
meeting in Buenos Aires that things are sufficiently close," she
Trade ministers will convene in Buenos Aires in December for
a meeting of the World Trade Organisation.
Malcorra named issues around rules of origin as well as food
safety measures as important points that still needed to be
The EU and Mercosur exchanged market access offers in May of
last year, including lists of imports that each side was
prepared to liberalise.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Toby Chopra)