Bilateral Trade Negotiations
In May 2016, the EU and the Mercosur (formed by Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) relaunched negotiations for a free trade agreement and exchanged offers, followed by a negotiation round in October of the same year. The European Union is Mercosur's first trading partner, accounting for 21% of the bloc's total trade in 2015. Agricultural products are the primary exports from Mercosur countries to the European Union, representing almost half (48%) of the total, and some raw materials are available in Mercosur countries at competitive prices in comparison to European market prices.
FEDIOL sees the EU-Mercosur negotiations as the way to consolidate and boost existing business relations between the two blocs and favours a free trade agreement which would lower barriers to trade and facilitate exchanges with the Mercosur region, provided that distorting policies and practices in the form of differential export duties are addressed.
The two negotiating parties met again in May 2018 in Brussels and are due to reconvene talks with a view to getting to an agreement around July.
Indonesia is one of the ten members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and represents its largest and most populated economy. Trade negotiations between the EU and Indonesia were launched in July 2016, and the fifth round of negotiations will be held in Brussels in mid-July.
The ambition from both sides is to conclude a trade agreement that facilitates trade and investments and covers a broad range of issues, including tariffs, non-tariff barriers to trade, trade in services and investment, trade aspects of public procurement, competition rules, intellectual property rights as well as sustainable development. On this last issue, the EU and Indonesian sides engaged in intensive exchanges on the basis of their initial text proposals, with the shared objective of achieving an ambitious and comprehensive chapter. The discussions primarily focused on the scope of the chapter, labour issues, multilateral environmental agreements, trade and climate change, and trade and conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity, forests and living marine resources.
In resuming negotiations, the two parties agreed to exchange initial offers and the Indonesian President expressed his will to reach a political agreement on the deal by the end of 2018.