Discussions begin in Rio de Janeiro today between the European Union and MERCOSUL on trading relations between the two blocks.
The high-profile summit is attended by Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Finance, the Economy and Foreign Trade from the two blocks. MERCOSUL (Commercial Market of South America) is composed of four full members (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) with two associate members (Bolivia and Chile).
Brazil is hosting the summit as the president of MERCOSUL (July to December) and the main topics under discussion will be the reduction of trade tariffs on certain products. This is a tentative first step towards reducing blocks on trade between the two organisms.
In 2004, agricultural products will start to flow from MERCOSUL to the EU.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru London United Kingdom