Business / Economy

Mercosur looks to enhance economic ties with China, EU

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-08 11:29

BRASILIA -- Leaders of South America's largest trade bloc, Mercosur, reaffirmed here Friday their wish to bolster economic ties with China and the European Union.

In a joint statement issued after their bi-annual summit, leaders of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) countries expressed their interest in promoting two-way investment with China to boost trade.

As part of the efforts, a joint mission of Mercosur traveled to China's Shanghai on November 12 to discuss with local government representatives ways of achieving the goal laid out in the joint Mercosur-China statement issued at the bloc's 43rd summit in June.

China and Mercosur pledged in their joint statement to further enhance economic cooperation and lift bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2016.

The Mercosur leaders also conveyed their intention to promote an association agreement with the EU to establish an "ample and balanced" mechanism between the two regional blocs in order to boost trade, growth and employment.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, whose country took over the bloc's rotating presidency Friday from Brazil, said the summit considered to re-start suspended negotiations on a free trade agreement with the EU.

Negotiations have stalled over differences on agriculture -- notably Europe's subsidies to its farmers, which South American countries say undermine their efforts to sell their products.

Mercosur, founded in 1991, groups Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Paraguay's membership is currently suspended, while associate member Bolivia has started a full membership process.

With the entry of Venezuela, accepted as a full member in June, Mercosur not only possesses 20 percent of the world's oil reserves, but also boasts a gross domestic product of $3.3 trillion with a population of 275 million.

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