The Mercosur-Palestine Free Trade Agreement was signed on 20 December 2011, in Montevideo. It concludes the negotiation started with the signature of the Framework Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, in December 2010, in the Mercosur Summit of Foz do Iguaçu.
The instrument signed with Palestine reaffirms the Mercosur countries willingness to enhance their relationship with partners in the Middle East and in the Arab World. Mercosur has celebrated Free Trade Agreements with Israel, in force, and with Egypt, signed in 2010.
The Mercosur-Palestine Free Trade Agreement contains the following chapters: trade in goods; rules of origin; bilateral safeguards; technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical and technological cooperation; institutional provisions and dispute settlements. It is an agreement to open markets for goods, with an evolutionary clause on possible negotiations, in the future, on market access on services and investments.
The Agreement expresses the support from Mercosur Member States for the establishment of an independent and democratic Palestinian State, geographically contiguous and economically viable, that may co-exist in peace and harmony with its neighbors.
The Brazilian Government notes the Uruguayan Pro Tempore Presidency contribution to the closure of negotiations.
- The agreement includes “baskets” for duty elimination divided into eight categories: A (immediate reduction or exemption), B (four years), C (eight years), D (ten years), and E (quotas or margins of preference).
- In Basket A, Mercosur offered products that Palestine is mainly interested in exporting, such as olive oil, food products, stones and marble.
- Palestine was included in SISCOMEX (imports) and NOVOEX (exports) in February 2011. Before that date, bilateral trade records were bundled with information regarding trade with Israel.