Brazil calls on Portugal to help speed up Mercosur-EU trade talks

2016-11-02 07:59:26 GMT2016-11-02 15:59:26(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BRASILIA, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's President Michel Temer on Tuesday called on Portugal to help advance trade talks between South American trade bloc Mercosur and the European Union (EU).

Temer asked Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to have Portugal be the "voice of Brazil" in ongoing negotiations for a free-trade deal between the EU and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), comprising Brazil and four other Southern Cone nations.

"Portugal could be the voice of Brazil at the European Union, in order to close the deal as soon as possible," said Temer.

Speaking to reporters following the 12th Portuguese-Brazilian Summit, held in Brazil's capital Brasilia, Temer said he and Costa spoke of the priority both countries give to the negotiations between Mercosur and the European Union, and Costa offered to serve "at the very least, as the lawyer."

In a joint statement made during the Summit, the two leaders pledged to work "to have the blocs enter the final stage of the negotiating process, with an eye to concluding an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced agreement."

"It has already been quite some time since Mercosur and the EU have tried to complete this deal." Temer said.

The free-trade talks between the EU and Mercosur began in the mid-1990s, but hit an impasse between 2004 and 2010, after neither side was willing to make more concessions, in agriculture for the Europeans, and in the industrial sector for the South Americans.

Talks resumed in 2012, but reached another impasse in 2014. They restarted in May of this year.