During his visit to Kenya, the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, met with the commissioner of the European Union (EU) in the area of trade, Peter Mandelson.
“It is clear that there is no conceptual difficulty separating us, but, rather, a process similar to bargaining,” Amorim said.
They both reaffirmed the plan to hold a ministerial meeting in April to try to define forms of integration between the European Union and the Mercosur.
For the Brazilian Chancellor, the negotiations move more slowly as the measures to effectuate openings between the two blocs get closer to becoming a reality, because they involve sensitive economic sectors in each bloc.
Amorim was on the first day of his visit to Africa, where he participated in the closing ceremony of a mini-Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Representatives from 35 countries attended the encounter, which was held in a coastal village called Ukunga, in the city of Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest after the capital, Nairobi.
At the end of October of last year, negotiators representing member countries of the Mercosur and the European Union met in Lisbon in an attempt to conclude a free trade agreement between the two blocs.
At the time they decided to continue discussions through 2005.
There was a deadline for the two blocs to conclude an agreement by the end of October 2004, but the representatives decided to prepare for a meeting of Ministers during the first quarter of 2005.
In a note, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations informed that “the representatives of the countries that are involved are convinced of the need for the negotiations to proceed.”
The note also said that the representatives identified topics in which flexibility was needed in the negotations.