‘No deal without beef’ says key Mercosur official

The head of the Mercosur trading bloc’s negotiating team with the EU has said that there will be no trade deal with the EU that does not include beef quotas.

Last month the EU made its first trade deal offer to Mercosur countries and it’s understood that the offer did not include beef quotas as had previously been feared.

It had been speculated  that as part of the negotiations a significant increase in a tariff-free quota (TRQ) for beef was to be included in the EU initial offer to the South Amercian nations.

This would cut the import price for beef and would allow greater volumes of South American beef into the EU market. However, after to widespread lobbying by farm organisations across Europe the beef TRQs were not included.

Despite this, it is being reported that speaking on radio in his home country the chief negotiator for the Mercosur bloc said Uruguayan chancellor Rodolfo Nin Novoa that “Without beef there is no deal.”

Mercosur refers to the trading bloc of South American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, while Bolivia is in the process of joining the trading bloc.

The Mercusor trading bloc was established in 1991 and negotiations with the EU originally started in 2010 with a number of ‘rounds’ of negotiations, which have the overall aim to agree a trade deal between the two blocs to allow easier trading of goods and services as well as government procurement and intellectual property and technical barriers to trade.

As it stands the main products the Mercosur countries send to Europe are agricultural products (43% of its exports) and raw materials (28%), while Europe sends manufactured products (46% = transport equipment/cars) and chemicals (22% of total exports).