ASUNCION – The four Mercosur foreign ministers will officially launch trade negotiations on Friday with Canada, which will be represented at the summit by its minister of international trade, François-Philippe Champagne.
Eladio Lozaiga, the foreign minister of Paraguay, the country that currently holds the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur, first received his South American counterparts Jorge Faurie, from Argentina, Aloysio Nunes, from Brazil, and Rodolfo Nin Novoa, from Uruguay.
Lozaiga will then meet separately with the Canadian trade minister and they will subsequently be joined by the other Mercosur foreign ministers.
After this meeting, a joint declaration will be signed, officially launching trade negotiations between the Mercosur and Canada.
This summit in Asuncion comes after Champagne met with Mercosur representatives in Ottawa in February to hold exploratory discussions about a possible trade agreement.
Canada is interested in promoting trade and investments in emerging markets and Mercosur represents a potential market of 260 million consumers.
In 2016, bilateral trade between Canada and Mercosur represented CA$8.9 billion ($6.8 billion).