EU-Mercosur FTA vs Trade-Willing 'Pacific Alliance'

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 2/03/2013 06:44:00 AM
Which does not belong? In case you missed it, recent talks between EU and Latin American leaders again failed to produce an FTA that has long been under consideration, EU-MERCOSUR. This was at a CELAC gathering in Santiago, Chile where European leaders who bothered to make the trip alike Angela Merkel found that while there were non-MERCOSUR nations keen on trade deals, Argentina was (surprise!) not. What's more, el presidente Cristina Fernandez senses that the Latin American grouping now has the upper hand and says Argentina will make a counter-proposal later this year:
(T)he EU's most ambitious goal – to finally sign a free trade agreement with South America's trade bloc, Mercosur – was not achieved after years of negotiation. Even though individual leaders, like the presidents of Chile, Brazil and Colombia, pushed for more free trade, the head of the second largest Mercosur country, Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, vehemently opposed it...
"We are very concerned about certain protectionist tendencies in some countries," [Merkel] said on the sidelines of the meeting. Merkel also made it perfectly clear whom she meant, saying that she'd talk to the Argentine president about the subject. However, de Kirchner defended Argentine protectionism and poured more cold water on the proceedings. After these long negotiations, the conditions had fundamentally changed, meaning it had become a matter for Mercosur to discuss, she said. The bloc would make a new proposal to the EU by the end of the year at the earliest.
However, do note that there Argentina's position is at one extreme likely shared by the likes of Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, and so forth. (Raul Castro is now the head of CELAC which includes Latin American and Caribbean states sans the white majority-populated United States and Canada.) OTOH, there is also a coalition of the trade-willing that have broken away in yet another American grouping (I've lost count) deemed more progressive on trade matters:
Mercosur’s main achievement in the past year has been to suspend Paraguay, because its congress impeached its left-wing president, and admit Venezuela, which complies with few of the group’s rules. Meanwhile, it is being outshone by the Pacific Alliance, a newly formed group of faster-growing, free-trading Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. Not by coincidence, these four already have free-trade deals with the EU. It was clear which countries the Europeans wanted to do business with. “We only have to look at the facts,” Mr De Gucht said. “The most open economies in the region are the ones that have had the most success.” Others have taken notice: Paraguay and Uruguay, another Mercosur member, have applied for observer status at the Alliance.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht's assertion is perhaps self-serving, but it does reinforce the point that some are more willing to trade than others. Expansion of the so-called Pacific Alliance would make this point more evident.