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In the context of the XXIII Bi-Regional Negotiations Committee (BNC), delegations from MERCOSUR and the European Union held working meetings from November 7 to 11 2011, for the negotiation of a future Bi-Regional Association Agreement between both regions.

Chief Negotiators of both sides reaffirmed their commitment to move negotiations forward to reach a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious Association Agreement. Negotiations were held in the Political, Cooperation and Trade pillars of the Agreement.

With regard to the Political and Cooperation Pillars, progress was achieved in a number of areas and there was fruitful exchange of views on many issues, which contributed to a better understanding of each other’s positions.

With regard to the Trade Pillar, eleven Working Groups held meetings during the XXIII BNC and achieved progress in the regulatory texts of the Bi-Regional Agreement, notably with the finalization of the text on general principles for antidumping and countervailing measures and global safeguard; Services and Investment; Rules of Origin; and Customs and related matters. A fruitful exchange of information also took place in areas such as Public Procurement. The state of advancement of each Working Group was reviewed and discussed at the level of Chief Negotiators, recognizing the need to progress in all key pending areas. On the issue of Sustainable Development MERCOSUR presented a written contribution as announced during the last BNC.

Finally, it was decided that the next round of negotiations in the framework of the BNC will be held in Brussels, Belgium from 12 to 16 March 2012.

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