ARGENTINA, Buenos Aires. An agreement could be reached in three to four weeks, Brazilian Economics Minister Paulo Guedes announced after a summit meeting between Brazil and Argentina in Buenos Aires.
The EU Commission also admits that at least technical rapprochements between the EU and the South Americans have been achieved. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström seems to be much more open to an end to the Mercosur negotiations than her colleague Phil Hogan. The Irish commissioner is under particular pressure from his compatriots, especially the Irish beef producers. Irish Agriculture Minister Michael Creed warned of an imbalanced agreement in a letter to the EU Commission this weekend.
The EU can hardly afford to increase the 99,000 t import quota for beef because of internal resistance in the final phase of the negotiations. It will probably only be a question of dividing the quota into fresh, frozen and processed beef. In return, a new EU import quota for sugar at reduced duty is under discussion. In addition, the protection of some geographical names remains controversial. A ministerial meeting in the Mercosur negotiations is under discussion for 27 June.