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Paraguay trusts next agreement with EU, despite agricultural discrepancy

Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga said today that he is confident that Mercosur and the European Union (EU) will sign an agreement by the end of this year, although he acknowledged that the agricultural sector remains the main discrepancy between the two blocs.

Asunción, Oct 10 (EFE) .- Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga said today that he is confident that Mercosur and the European Union (EU) will sign an agreement by the end of this year, that the agricultural sector is still the main discrepancy between the two blocs.

"The agricultural sector is where we have, I do not say the difficulty, but the battle we have to take forward, which is not new, we know it is sensitive to them, "Loizaga told reporters at the Chancellery headquarters.

He added that the main thing is to reach an agreement for December and we can sign the following year.

"The important thing is that by December we have the agreement already closed. (..) I trusted that at least we have to reach an agreement that satisfy the parties minimally and eventually go even further, especially in these two areas, "said the foreign minister. Loizaga added that in two weeks they will meet in Brasília, the negotiators of the two blocs, after Brussels transmitted its offer to Mercosur in relation to ethanol and meat products at the end of September.

"We have advanced enough, which remains pending because the European offer in agriculture has only just been announced, negotiations are still going to take place in two more weeks to be held again in Brasilia, they took the counter-proposal of Mercosur, taking into account that in 2010 and in 2006 the offer was much higher, "said Loizaga.

The EU offered Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay an annual quota of 70,000 tons of beef and 600,000 tons of ethanol, an offer that the South American bloc considered "insufficient."

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