RIO DE JANEIRO, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Brazil hopes the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) to conclude free trade negotiations with the European Union (EU) in the next months, the foreign ministry said Monday.
According to an official statement, Brazilian President Michel Temer on Monday travelled to Paraguay for the biannual Mercosur meeting with confidence that progress will be made on the bloc's agenda with the EU.
"We hope to conclude (the negotiations with the EU) in the next months. Afterwards, there will be work to refine legislation, but we wish to resolve the larger parameters as soon as possible," Paulo Estivallet, the ministry's deputy secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, said in the statement.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes said on Wednesday that Mercosur and the EU could have a free trade agreement ready to be signed before Brazil's presidential elections in October.
European officials also said earlier this month that talks with the Mercosur were nearing a close.
During the meeting in the Paraguayan city of Asuncion, the South American trade bloc also seeks an agreement with the Pacific Alliance, another Latin American trade bloc composed of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
Both groups currently have various agreements in force, but want to increase business opportunities.
According to Estivallet, the Mercosur meeting also wants to demonstrate that its members are united in their intention to expand commercial negotiations and increase the bloc's standing on the international stage.
"For us, protectionism is certainly not the solution and not the route we wish to take," he added.
At the Mercosur meeting in Paraguay, the host country will pass the six-monthly presidency of the bloc to Uruguay.