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February 22, 2018
Canada will begin free trade talks with Mercosur
According to several media reports, Canada and the South American trading bloc Mercosur are expected to announce the formal launch of trade talks, during a meeting on March 9 between Canadian trade minister François-Philippe Champagne and his Mercosur counterparts in Asunción, Paraguay.
The Government of Canada held consultations last year on the scope of potential negotiations regarding a possible free trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and Mercosur.
Also known as the Southern Cone Common Market, Mercosur is a customs union established by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay in 1991. This regional bloc represents a significant economic presence in Latin America. In 2016, the four members of Mercosur had a combined GDP of US$2.4 trillion (CAN$3.2 trillion) and a population of 260 million.
In 2016, Canada's bilateral merchandise trade with the bloc totalled nearly $8.1 billion. Canadian direct investment abroad in the bloc was valued at $14.7 billion and the bloc's total inward foreign direct investment stock is valued at $19.7 billion. Two-way services trade between Canada and Mercosur's Argentina and Brazil nearly reached $1.3 billion in 2015.
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