Eurasian Economic Union to boost ties with South America’s largest trade bloc

The Eurasian Economic Union, which is due to go into effect in 2015, and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) have almost agreed on a memorandum of understanding, a minister for trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission told TASS in an interview on Wednesday.

“We have in fact completed the work on the memorandum of cooperation in the economic sphere between the two integration associations,” said Andrey Slepnev, who leads talks with Argentina, the current chair of the Mercosur trade group.

“The document covers the spheres on which we will be holding a regular dialogue, first of all, the issues of trade facilitation and removing barriers in trade, as well as investment cooperation,” Slepnev said.

The official said the document could be signed in 2015.

“We have reached a common understanding on the need in the near future to launch the drafting process of a full-fledged legally binding agreement between the two blocs that form the already new legal basis for trade between the Mercosur states and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU),” he said.

Slepnev said yet there is no talk of an agreement on a free trade zone, but the sides understand that this is a goal which should be achieved in the future as the whole world, including South America, is moving in this direction.

“We should use various mechanisms for diversifying and boosting our economic contacts. One of the problems is a narrow spectrum of trade and our business circles which are involved in the work with the Latin American region,” Slepnev said.

Mercosur is a bloc, established in 1991, which comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. The EEU members are currently Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. Kyrgyzstan is expected to join the union soon.

The two trade blocs account for over 7% of global economy.

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