Spotlight on Mercosur

EU largest foreign investor in Mercosur market

Mercosur, or Southern Common market, is a full customs union and trading bloc between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Its goal is to promote free trade and free movement of goods, persons and capital. It is also the fourth largest single market in the world, after the EU, the United States and Japan. (Membership of Bolivia was accepted but it is not a full member yet, membership of Venezuela has been suspended).

Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union are ongoing and will hopefully lead to rapid results. For all four of the Mercosur-countries that are negotiating, the EU is their largest partner with a 21% share in total trade. European exports increased sharply in the last 10 years, from 21 billion euros in 2005 to 46 billion euros in 2015. During the same period, Mercosur’s exports to the EU increased from 32 billion euros to 42 billion euros. The EU is also the largest investor in the region, with 387 billion euros worth of investments and Mercosur is a major investor in the EU, with investments worth 115 billion euros in 2014.

Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem therefore supports the rapid establishment of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mercosur. An agreement that will provide many new opportunities to Belgian companies and exporters and will significantly simplify our trade with its four members.

Accompanied by a delegation of Belgian companies, Secretary of State De Crem already made two missions to Brazil, paying close attention to its trade relations with Belgium and Europe, and promoting access for Belgian companies to the vast Brazilian market. Furthermore, in June 2018, a Princely Economic mission headed by HRH Princess Astrid and Secretary of State Pieter De Crem will be conducted to Argentina and Uruguay. The Mercosur countries therefore continue to receive strong attention in the Belgian foreign trade policy because of the great economic potential its market provides to our companies.


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