By Vakkas Dogantekin
ANKARA (AA) - Brazil’s president expressed hope for his country to become the first to approve the trade deal agreed between the EU and South American bloc Mercosur.
During his flight to Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, from the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Jair Bolsonaro told reporters Sunday that it could take up to three years for the deal to come into full force, as it hinges on the approval of lawmakers from all member countries of the bloc.
Mercosur, officially known as the Southern Common Market, an economic and commercial group of countries in South America.
"(The deal) comes into force in one or three years, depending on the parliaments. Maybe ours will be one of the first to approve, I hope," Bolsonaro said.
The EU on Friday reached a historic trade agreement with the four founding members of Mercosur -- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay -- as part of a biregional association agreement.
Current trade relations between the EU and Mercosur are based on an interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement which entered into force in 1999, according to Mercosur's website.
- EU-Mercosur negotiations
The EU-Mercosur negotiations started in 2000 and went through on and off phases.
In May 2016, the EU and Mercosur resumed the negotiation process and expedited negotiations.
The parties agreed on a comprehensive agreement covering issues such as tariffs, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade and intellectual property among others.
The EU's exports to the four Mercosur countries totaled $51 billion in 2018. Mercosur's exports to the EU were $48 billion in 2018.
The EU is the biggest foreign investor in the region, with an accumulated stock of investment that has gone up from $147 billion in 2000 to $432 billion in 2017.
Mercosur is a major investor in the EU, with stocks of $59 billion in 2017.
The four countries of Mercosur have a combined population of about 221.3 million and GDP of $2.1 trillion.