A delegation of senior Mercosur (Mercado Comun del Sur- South American Common Market ) officials arrived in Israel last week for a two-day visit to hold the first round of talks for a free-trade agreement with Israel
In a statement issued by the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor director general Raanan Dinor, it was noted that an agreement with the Mercosur bloc, the world’s fifth largest trade bloc, comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay will be one of the most important initiatives Israel had taken in foreign trade in recent years.
Dinor emphasized that a free-trade agreement with the Mercosur bloc would significantly improve Israeli exporters’ access to south American markets, especially the expanding Brazilian economy. Brazil is Israel’s third most important export destination, after China and Japan.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Industry,trade with the Mercosur bloc in 2005, totaled $600 million, including just over $400 million in imports.
Most of the Israeli trade with the Mercosur bloc is with Brazil. Trade with the Argentine is growing slowly. Most Israeli exports to the Mercosur bloc are chemicals, fertilizers, machinery. Israeli imports comprise, in the main, frozen beef, soy beans and chemicals.
Israeli ministry officials said following the first round of talks that a free-trade agreement with the Mercosur bloc will improve Israeli exports to the bloc.
It is also understood that both Israel and the Mercosur bloc also consider signing of separate agreements to expand R&D cooperation, investment, government procurements and services.