17:06 GMT +320 July 2019
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    Merkel Welcomes Mercosur Countries' Interest in Free Trade Deal With EU

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    The German chancellor approved of Mercosur countries' interest in moving in the direction of having a free trade deal with the European Union.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed Latin American Mercosur countries' interest in negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union on Saturday.

    "We are absolutely in favor of international trade relations and, that is why, we are happy that Mercosur countries are moving in this direction. We should have a fair agreement, where European interests as well as interests of Latin America would be equally taken into account. Now it is important, first of all, to resume negotiations and we are working on it," Merkel said in a daily podcast on the chancellor's official website.

    Mercosur is a sub-regional economic bloc, which unites Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela (suspended in 2016). The aim of the bloc is to promote free trade and free movement of goods, people and currency.

    In 1999, the European Union and Mercosur signed an agreement on bilateral cooperation, which provided a ground for trade relations between the two regional blocs. Since then there have been several attempts to negotiate a free trade agreement, but no results have been achieved yet.

    In October 2016, the sides launched a new round of negotiations, which will be followed by a bilateral meeting in March 2017.

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    free trade, European Union, Mercosur, Angela Merkel, Germany
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