In a recent development, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva engaged in discussions with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, exploring the prospects of a trade agreement between Japan and the South American bloc Mercosur, as reported by the Brazilian government.
During a phone conversation, Lula and Kishida delved into the reinforcement of trade ties between Latin America's largest economy and Japan. The government statement also noted the Japanese leader's intention to visit Brazil "in due course."
The Brazilian government highlighted that the leaders contemplated the possibility of forging a trade agreement between Mercosur and Japan. Mercosur, comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, has been actively negotiating a long-awaited trade deal with the European Union. However, Lula has expressed the view that Mercosur should explore new negotiation avenues with Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
The urgency for concluding the EU-Mercosur talks has been underscored by Uruguay, which aims to expedite the process to facilitate negotiations with China. Notably, Mercosur recently achieved a trade and investment deal with Singapore, marking its first agreement with an Asian nation. The bloc is also eyeing potential deals with South Korea.
The Brazilian agricultural sector, known for its robust production, is particularly interested in expanding food sales to Japan. A comprehensive trade agreement within Mercosur could serve as a catalyst for such endeavors.
In 2022, Brazil exported $6.6 billion worth of soybeans, iron ore, aluminum, chicken, corn, and coffee to Japan, with imports amounting to $5.3 billion. The imports from Japan primarily consisted of automotive parts and integrated circuits.
This diplomatic exchange follows Lula's visit to Japan last year, where he participated in the G7 summit in Hiroshima. The ongoing discussions reflect the evolving dynamics of global trade partnerships and Mercosur's proactive approach in exploring diversified economic collaborations.