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Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and Mercosur

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Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and Mercosur

The objective of this Framework Agreement is to strengthen existing relations between the European Community and Mercosur to prepare for an Interregional Association. The agreement covers trade, economic matters, cooperation and other fields of mutual interest.


Council Decision 1999/279/EC of 22 March 1999 concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, of the interregional framework cooperation agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Southern Common Market and its Party States, of the other part.

Interregional Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Southern Common Market and its Party States, of the other part.


Having concluded bilateral agreements with Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, the European Community has also concluded an Interregional Framework Agreement with Mercosur.

Based on democratic principles and fundamental rights, its objective is to strengthen existing relations between the Parties and to lay the foundations for an Interregional Association. It covers trade and economic matters, cooperation and other fields of mutual interest.

Regular political dialogue has been instituted to advance the establishment of an Interregional Association. Its objective is to ensure closer consultation on bilateral and multilateral issues by coordinating the Parties respective positions within the relevant international organisations. There will be exchanges of information at regular meetings at ministerial and senior official level. Full use is also to be made of diplomatic channels.

In the field of trade, closer relations will be forged to prepare for subsequent gradual and reciprocal liberalisation of trade. Regular dialogue on trade and economic matters has been established. The main areas of cooperation are:

  • market access, liberalisation of trade and trade disciplines;
  • trade relations with non-member countries;
  • the compatibility of trade with WTO rules;
  • the identification of sensitive and priority products;
  • cooperation and exchanges of information on services.

On agricultural and industrial products the Parties agree to cooperate to approximate their policies on quality and conformity recognition. They will consider beginning negotiations on mutual recognition agreements.

In the customs field, the objective is to cooperate to strengthen customs infrastructure and improve its operation in order to consolidate the legal framework for trade relations. Statistical matters and intellectual property are two more fields of trade cooperation which is aimed at promoting investment, technology transfer and trade by preventive distortions of trade through appropriate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.

In the field of economic cooperation, the Parties will encourage regional cooperation wherever it will result in more rational and efficient use of available resources and a better outcome. No sector is excluded, although some areas are expressly mentioned. These are energy, transport, telecommunications and information technology, environmental protection, science and technology, business cooperation and investment promotion.

In the transport field, cooperation will be used to help restructure and modernise transport systems and find solutions to problems involved in moving people and goods using all modes of transport. Cooperation will take the form of exchanges of information and training programmes.

In order to encourage integration cooperation will underpin Mercosur's objectives; operations will be examined in the light of its specific requests. Cooperation will take any form that is appropriate, but will focus on exchanges of information, training, institution building, studies and joint projects and technical assistance. Closer institutional cooperation is also desirable.

Other areas of cooperation are:

  • training and education, where the Parties will seek to improve education and training relating to regional integration for young people, vocational training, and cooperation between universities and businesses focusing on links between specialist bodies, agreements between training centres and the organisation of meetings between educational establishments;
  • communication, information and culture, where the aim is to promote mutual understanding and strengthen cultural ties;
  • combating drug trafficking.

The Parties undertake to provide the requisite resources and encourage the European Investment Bank to give greater help to Mercosur to attain these objectives.

Under the institutional framework a Cooperation Council will be set up to oversee the Agreement's implementation and will meet regularly at ministerial level. It will be assisted by a Joint Cooperation Committee, which will meet once a year. A Joint Subcommittee on Trade has also been set up.

The Agreement has been concluded for an indefinite period and may be extended if the Parties wish to do so. If either Party considers that the other Party has failed to fulfil an obligation it may take the appropriate measures.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Council Decision 1999/279/EC [adoption consultation CNS/1995/0261]



OJ L 112 of 29.04.1999


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - The European Community and Mercosur: An Enhanced Policy [COM(1994) 428 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 04.05.2007