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EU, Mercosur Talks:

March 20, 2000|Bloomberg News

The European Union will kick-start formal negotiations today on a trade pact with the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, in a bid to create the largest free-trade area in the world. European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will conduct weeklong talks with officials from Brazil, which currently holds the rotating presidency of Mercosur--the only other single market initiative in the world outside the EU. A further agreement will be negotiated with Mercosur associate member Chile. The two blocs, which exchanged $41.1 billion worth of goods in 1998, will start talks on nontariff trade issues this week, addressing production levels, investment promotion, environment, consumer protection, bureaucracy, legal trade barriers and technology. Negotiations on tariffs and services won't start until July 2001.

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