France opposes EU-Mercosur trade talks
France opposes EU plans to resume free trade talks with the Latin American bloc Mercosur, which includes Brazil, for fear of undermining Europe's farmers, the government and lawmakers said.
A parliamentary agriculture commission on Thursday stated its "unfavourable view" of a plan floated on Tuesday by the European Union's executive commission to relaunch the talks, which stalled in 2004.
The commission said a successful outcome could boost jobs and growth in both regions.
On Wednesday French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire and the junior minister for foreign trade Anne-Marie Idrac said they also opposed the move, which aims to revive a process that started in 1999.
The ministers "consider that the EU cannot have negotiations that threaten French and European agriculture," they said in a statement.
Brazil's foreign minister Celso Amorim said in February that the EU and Mercosur could strike a free trade deal at the next EU-Latin America and Caribbean summit scheduled on May 18 in Madrid.
Mercosur's other members are Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
© 2010 AFP