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Gathered in Brussels on April 8, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, as President pro tempore of MERCOSUR, and the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, announced the schedule for the next negotiation round of the MERCOSUR-European Union bi-regional Association Agreement. It was agreed that the exchange of market access offers between the two blocs, essential round of the process, will take place on the second week of May. The calendar of meetings for the current year was also set.

Brazil welcomes the announcement with satisfaction, which marks the beginning of the final negotiation round, goal to which MERCOSUR attaches special priority, having already concluded the technical preparation work of its market access offer for the July 2014 Summit, in Caracas. The completion of the work on the European side and the setting of a date for the exchange of offers open the way for a new and decisive negotiation round, which the Brazilian Government hopes to be quickly and successfully concluded.

Brazil has committed itself consistently to advance negotiations, both on the preparation of the MERCOSUR joint offers round and in carrying out efforts to make the exchange of offers viable. Such efforts included several direct contacts of President Dilma Rousseff and of Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira with their respective counterparts in European countries, in addition to the activities of the Brazilian Mission to the European Union and of our Embassies in the 28 EU Member States.

The exchange of market access offers is an essential step for the negotiation of an agreement that takes into account the expectations and sensibilities of each side, and that is expected to be balanced and mutually beneficial, up to the great potential of the two regions and of the historical relations between them.

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