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Canada-Mercosur exploratory talks hailed as positive

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Activity in the seaport of Montevideo, Uruguay. Image © Getty Images / ToniFlap
Activity in the seaport of Montevideo, Uruguay. Image © Getty Images / ToniFlap
Exploratory talks on a comprehensive free trade agreement between the Mercosur trade bloc and Canada have concluded on a positive note, opening Canada up to potential reduce tariffs for many of Mercosur’s exports.

Any potential agreement between Canada and Mercosur, which consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, would have implications for many industries, from auto parts to chemicals to lumber to seafood.

This outcome builds on the Canada–Mercosur joint statement, which confirmed the intent to deepen the trade relationship, issued on the margins of the World Trade Organization meetings held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in October 2017.

“Canada recognizes the enormous opportunities Mercosur represents to diversify markets, create more jobs at home and pave the way for Canadians to compete and win across the Americas,”​ said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade.

Mercosur is the world’s fourth-largest trading bloc and with a population of 260 million and a combined GDP of over $3 trillion. The bloc is a customs union established by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay in 1991.

Mercosur accounts for more than two thirds of the total economic activity in South America.

In 2016, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Mercosur reached a value of $8.9 billion.

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