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Bilateral framework agreements for cooperation with the Mercosur countries

The countries of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) - Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil - are beneficiaries of the framework cooperation agreements with the European Union (EU) which entered into force in the first half of the 1990s. These agreements focus on trade and economic cooperation and other areas of common interest.

ACTS

Council Decision 95/445/EC of 30 October 1995 concerning the conclusion of the Framework Agreement for cooperation between the European Economic Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil

Council Decision 92/509/EEC of 19 October 1992 concerning the conclusion of the Framework Agreement for cooperation between the European Economic Community and the Republic of Paraguay

Council Decision 92/205/EEC of 16 March 1992 concerning the conclusion of the Framework Agreement for cooperation between the European Economic Community and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay

Council Decision 90/530/EEC of 8 October 1990 concerning the conclusion of the Framework Agreement for cooperation between the European Economic Community and the Argentine Republic

SUMMARY

The Argentine Republic was the first of the four countries to formalise its relations with the European Union with a trade and economic cooperation agreement that entered into force in 1991. This is why the agreement covers fewer areas than the other three.

The basic principles of the agreements include respect for democracy and human rights and the strengthening of regional integration. In all four agreements, the parties grant each other most-favoured-nation treatment.

For Argentina, attention focuses on:

  • trade cooperation, to develop and diversify trade;
  • economic cooperation, excluding no field from the outset and including specifically scientific and technical cooperation, energy, protection of the environment and natural resources, regional integration and industrial standardization. The aim is to encourage the development and prosperity of industries, open up new sources of supply and new markets and promote scientific and technological progress;
  • agricultural cooperation, focusing on the development of trade in agricultural products and health measures;
  • industrial cooperation.

The second agreement to enter into force was the agreement with the Republic of Paraguay, in 1992. It covers all the points mentioned for Argentina but adapts them to the needs of the country. As regards economic cooperation, the aims are to strengthen economic links, enhance trade, promote cooperation between economic operators, improve standards of living, encourage investment flows, etc. This type of cooperation applies to services, intellectual and industrial property, the management of natural resources, environmental protection, agriculture, industry, energy and the mining sector.

As regards trade cooperation, the parties undertake, beyond diversifying trade, to examine ways of eliminating barriers and exchanging information. The agreement also contains an article on the arrangements applicable to this type of cooperation. Moreover, temporarily imported goods are exempt from duties and taxes, in the same way as for Uruguay and Brazil.

The objectives of agricultural cooperation are the same as for Argentina. As regards trade cooperation, the need to examine ways of eliminating non-tariff barriers was added. In the industrial field, the aim is to diversify the country's productive base.

Cooperation on the environment aims at resolving problems linked to water, soil and air pollution, erosion, desertification, deforestation and overexploitation of natural resources. The parties therefore encourage the productive conservation of flora and fauna, and the conservation of tropical forests and national parks.

Another area of interest is science and technology; the parties want to boost Paraguay's technological capabilities by fostering broad cooperation between the two parties.

Regional integration is another aim of the agreement which, without excluding any sphere of action, gives express consideration to environmental cooperation at regional level, the development of intra-regional trade, the strengthening of regional institutions, support for the development of common policies and activities and regional communications.

Development cooperation aims at strengthening and speeding up Paraguay's economic and social development, attaching particular importance to rural development.

The fight against drugs, training, public health, investment, tourism, government service and information, communication and culture are other areas of EU-Paraguay cooperation.

The agreement with Uruguay entered into force in 1994 and comprises all the areas of cooperation listed in the agreement with Paraguay, except for the fight against drugs and development cooperation. It does, however, include an article on cooperation on social development.

Economic cooperation does not exclude any area from the outset and aims at diversifying economic ties, boosting economies and standards of living, creating new jobs, encouraging rural development, promoting depressed border areas, supporting the Mercosur integration process, etc.

The objectives of cooperation in the fields of trade, agriculture, the environment and industry are the same as for Paraguay. As regards cooperation on regional integration, health matters and the transfer of experience were added to the areas already mentioned for Paraguay.

Cooperation on science and technology focuses on facilitating the mobility and exchange of scientists, establishing permanent links, fostering the transfer of technology, creating links between research centres, stimulating innovation and creating economic cooperation opportunities.

Cooperation on social development aims to improve the standard of living and quality of life of the most underprivileged sections of the population, and includes technical assistance.

The framework agreement with Brazil entered into force in 1995. Cooperation is strengthened particularly in the areas of trade, investment, finance and technology. The agreement with Brazil adds the following to the cooperation areas covered by the agreements signed with the other countries: standards, information technology, telecommunications and space technology, transport, energy, the mining, forestry and rural sectors, fisheries, technological development and intellectual property.

The areas covered by economic cooperation are industry, the use of natural resources against a background of sustainable development, industrial property, health and plant health regulations, services in general and information on monetary matters.

Cooperation on standards aims to reduce existing differences in respect of weights and measures, standardisation and certification by promoting the use of available systems of standards and certification.

Cooperation in the area of air, road and rail transport centres on the interchange of information, training programmes and technical assistance.

Several areas of common interest are highlighted in the article on information technology, telecommunications and the use of space technology. The article covers, inter alia, earth and space-based telecommunications, electronics and microelectronics, computerisation and automation, and high-definition television.

As regards the environment, the aim is to reconcile the need for economic and social development with need for due protection of nature, devoting particular attention to the most disadvantaged sections of the population, urban environmental problems and the protection of ecosystems.

In order to contribute to regional integration and cooperation, measures must be taken with regard to technical assistance, the promotion of inter-regional trade, support for regional institutions and the preparation of studies. Certain areas, such as telecommunications and the environment, can be opened up for participation by other countries in the region.

Joint Cooperation Committee and duration

The four agreements establish a Joint Cooperation Committee consisting of representatives from both parties. The Committee ensures the proper functioning of the agreement and makes recommendations. Things are a little different in the case of Brazil, since the Joint Committee already existed and the agreement merely retained it.

The agreements are concluded for an initial period of five years and are renewed tacitly thereafter unless one of the parties denounces them in writing six months before the date of expiry. The agreements all include a future developments clause, enabling the parties to expand the content of the agreements.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Council Decision 95/445/EC (Brazil) [adoption: consultation CNS/1992/1204]01.11.1995-Official Journal L 262 of 1.11.1995
Council Decision 92/509/EEC (Paraguay)01.11.1992-Official Journal L 313 of 30.10.1992
Council Decision 92/205/EEC (Uruguay)01.11.1994-Official Journal L 94 of 8.4.1992
Council Decision 90/530/EEC (Argentina)01.08.1991-Official Journal L 295 of 26.10.1990

RELATED ACTS

On 22 March 1999, the Council concluded in the name of the European Community the Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Southern Common Market and its Party States, of the other part.

Last updated: 04.05.2007
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