Eurasian, Mercosur trade blocs work to strengthen ties

Eurasian, Mercosur trade blocs work to strengthen ties

Eurasian Economic Union and Mercosur officials met last week to see how members could strengthen trade relations and increase the movement of goods between trade blocs.

The duo almost agreed on a memorandum of understanding, said Andrey Slepnev, a trade minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission who leads talks with Argentina, the current chair of Mercosur, in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS.

“The document covers the spheres on which we will be holding a regular dialogue, first of all, the issues of trade facilitation and removing barriers in trade, as well as investment cooperation,” Slepnev told TASS. He said the document could be signed next year.

Although there is no talk yet of an agreement on a free trade zone, experts from both blocs discussed tariff issues, customs, technical regulations and sanitary matters, according to Latin American Herald Tribune.

EEU, which will go into effect in 2015, comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia, with Kyrgyzstan expected to join soon, while Mercosur, established in 1991, includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The two trade blocs account for more than 7 percent of the global economy, with EEU contributing roughly 3 percent and Mercosur contributing about 4 percent, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015.

Contact Grace M. Lavigne at glavigne@joc.com and follow her on Twitter: @Lavigne_JOC.