Bilateral Trade Negotiations
The EU and the Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) have resumed after a five year interruption. The Mercosur which is a regional trade pact and not a fully fledged customs union is a major trade partner for the EU in particular in the oilseeds and oil sector. These negotiations are therefore getting the utmost attention from FEDIOL.
These negotiations are a priority for the EU as the Mercosur has not signed any meaningful trade agreement with a significant trading block. The Commission is seeking an ambitious agreement addressing EU demands in the field of sustainability and geographical indications (among other priorities).
Offensive interests for the EU industrial sectors should not be gained at the cost of the EU Agriculture. The EU should guarantee that the conclusions of these negotiations will not put at risk the economic viability of the beef, poultry and pig meat sectors which are particularly exposed in these negotiations.
It is also imperative that the EU seizes this opportunity to make a clear case against Differential Export Taxes which benefit economic operators in the Mercosur at the expense of the European crushing industry.
With the stalling of the WTO negotiations the European Commission has put a renewed emphasis on bilateral trade agreements among which discussions with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). This regional organization includes Indonesia and Malaysia and is therefore particularly relevant to the activities of the sector.
The intention of the Commission is to promote a broad Free trade Agreement with ASEAN and cover sensitive issues including Differential Export Taxes.
The Commission has now dropped its regional approach and negotiations have now been launched with Singapore. The intention of the Commission is to use Singapore as a front-runner. FEDIOL is keen to have as many ASEAN partners join the process as possible. Indonesia and Malaysia are very important trade partners for the industry. Broad FTA negotiations would be a platform to discuss a broad range of issues from sustainability to trade distortions such as Differential Export taxes and tax exemptions.