Germany And Brazil Hope For Swift Finalization Of A Trade Agreement Between Eu And Mercosur

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, hold a press conference at the Federal Chancellery on the occasion of the 2nd German-Brazilian intergovernmental consultations, in Berlin, Monday Dec. 4, 2023. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, hold a press conference at the Federal Chancellery on the occasion of the 2nd German-Brazilian intergovernmental consultations, in Berlin, Monday Dec. 4, 2023. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)
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BERLIN (AP) — The chancellor of Germany and president of Brazil expressed hope Monday that decades-long negotiations might soon yield a finalized free trade agreement between the 27-member European Union and a bloc of four South American nations.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told reporters in Berlin that they support the trade deal for the EU and Mercosur, comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The two blocs are holding a summit Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, but final approval of a preliminary trade agreement has remained elusive.

“We are strongly committed to ensuring that the agreement is now finalized swiftly,” Scholz said after a meeting of senior officials from both countries in the German capital.

Lula also vowed to fight for the deal, and said he hoped for a breakthrough at the Rio de Janeiro meeting. “As long as I can believe that the agreement is possible, I will fight for it,” the Brazilian president said. “I'm not giving up.”

Such a trade deal would create one of the world’s largest free trade zones, with more than 700 million inhabitants.

The EU and Mercosur states have been in talks for more than 20 year. A basic agreement between the sides that was reached in 2019 was not be implemented due to various concerns including the protection of the rainforest in South America and some European countries’ desire to protect their farmers from cheaper South American imports.

“We believe it would be a great step forward, even if the bilateral relations are very good," Scholz said.

The two leaders also signed a bilateral agreement on a partnership for a “socially just and ecological transformation” and said they intend to work more closely together in fighting disinformation and hate speech.