EU and Mercosur to enter final phase of negotiations on trade deal

Tuesday 1439/5/13 - 2018/01/30
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Brussels, Jumada I 13, 1439, January 30, 2018, SPA -- The four founding members of the Mercosur trade bloc
- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay - and the European Union
are set to enter their final phase of negotiations over a free trade deal after a ministerial meeting on Tuesday, according to dpa.
While no breakthrough took place at the Brussels meeting, ministers held "constructive" talks and instructed chief negotiators to meet on Friday for further discussions, according to a European Commission official.
A preliminary agreement could be reached in the coming weeks.
The push to finalize a deal began in late 2016 after the talks, which began in 2000, stalled in 2004.
Outstanding issues remain in several areas, including market access for products such as cars, beef and dairy.
EU exports to the Latin American bloc have been increasing steadily in recent years, reaching 42 billion euros' (52 billion dollars') worth of goods in 2016 and 22 billion euros in services in 2015.
22:13 LOCAL TIME 19:13 GMT