Israel, Mercosur nations negotiating free trade agreement
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor foreign trade administration deputy director-general Ronit Kan: This is a significant breakthrough.
Hadas Manor - 27 Jun 05
Israel is beginning negotiations for a free trade agreement with the Mercado Comun del Sur (Mercosur) countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay). Leaders of the Mercosur nations and Israel Ambassador to Argentina Rafael Eldad signed a declaration of intent in Asuncion, Paraguay last week.
The agreement will expand export opportunities to South America, and improve Israel’s competitive position vis-à-vis Europe and the US, with which the Mercosur bloc is considering a trade agreement. Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor foreign trade administration deputy director-general Ronit Kan said that this was a significant breakthrough, since the Mercosur bloc was the third largest trading bloc after the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union (EU).
Customs duties in the Mercosur bloc average a relatively high 11%, and are even higher on some Israeli exports. Trade between Israel and the bloc totaled $940 million last year.
Exports totaled $554 million, mostly chemicals (chiefly for agriculture), machinery (communications equipment for the most part), and plastics. Imports totaled $386 million, including plants (mostly soy) and meat and poultry (especially beef).
At the same time as its trade negotiations, Israel is also negotiating with Argentina and Brazil to establish bilateral R&D funds, in hope of signing agreements this year.
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on June 27, 2005