After years of negotiations between the EU and Mercosur, the recently approved Agreement opens a new era of political and commercial cooperation, with market liberalisation, sustainable development, support for investment and export facilitation, based on technical standards that will bring EU companies closer to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.
The elimination of existing technical barriers to trade through the harmonisation of standards is one of the bases of the Agreement, which lays down the rules for trade between both parts of the world. To ensure its success, the Spanish Association for Standardisation-UNE signed an agreement in September 2018 with the Mercosur Association for Standardization (AMN), through which both associations will collaborate in the exchange and harmonisation of standards, as well as in technical cooperation. This will facilitate trade and access by European and Spanish companies to a market of over 260 million consumers in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
With this agreement, UNE provides Mercosur with its catalogue of 33,000 standards, many of which are of European origin (EN). Their harmonisation by Mercosur will facilitate the export of products to this region by Spanish companies.
UNE works vigorously in the development of agreements with standardisation companies in Latin America with a view to technical harmonisation and the promotion of trade. In 2018, nine agreements were signed. As a result of this work, it maintains bilateral agreements with standardisation organisations in Argentina (IRAM), Uruguay (UNIT), Brazil (ABNT) and Paraguay (INTN). Spanish companies will benefit from the association's many years' experience in the Latin American market; and relations will now be strengthened thanks to the agreement between the Mercosur and Spanish standards bodies.
Technical standards are the language spoken in international markets. In fact, according to the OECD, 80% of products traded globally are subject to standards, thus facilitating the export of goods and services. Of the total catalogue of Spanish standards, 75% are adopted from European standards, while 35% are also international, thus enabling access by Spanish companies to external markets.
Mercosur exports to the EU reached 42,600 million euros in 2018, while imports stood at 45,000 million euros.