After six years of talks, Mercosur and Egypt have signed a Free Trade Agreement. The Agreement will immediately eliminate tariffs on butter, maize, metals, oils, valves and wheat. Duties on milk and industrial products will be phased out within the next four years while remaining tariffs will be phased out over a period of eight to ten years.
At present, there is US$2.268 billion worth of commerce between Egypt and the four Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Brazil is Egypt’s largest Mercosur trade partner with imports totaling approximately US$87.7 million and exports US$1.44 billion in return. Argentina is Egypt’s second-largest Mercosur partner, exporting US$603 million worth of goods to the North African nation and importing US$53.2 million.
The Mercosur countries have certainly been active recently and are in negotiations with the EU about a similar agreement though some EU countries are concerned about the impact upon the EC Agricultural sector if such an agreement was signed.