The world’s longest-running trade saga has reached its conclusion. After
over 19 years of vicissitudes the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) has
struck a trade deal with the European Union (EU). The deal could still be
derailed. It faces some significant political hurdles. The French government,
in particular, made it clear that ratification was far from a fait
accompli. And then three is the political uncertainty in Argentina.
President Mauricio Macri celebrated the trade deal as a historic achievement,
but he might not be in power come December, and the current
frontrunner in opinion polls ahead of October’s presidential elections,
Alberto Fernández, was fiercely critical of the deal. The Kirchnerista wing
of the main opposition Partido Justcialista (PJ, Peronists), for which
Fernández is standing along with former president Cristina Fernández
(2007-2015), is intrinsically protectionist.