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Thursday February 20th, 2020 9:42PM

The Latest: EU hails new trade deal with Mercosur

By The Associated Press
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The Latest on the European Union-Mercosur trade deal (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

The European Union is hailing its new trade deal with the Mercosur trade bloc as "an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive agreement" that sends a strong positive signal amid global trade tensions.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described the pact sealed Friday with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay exactly 20 years after talks were launched as "a historical moment."

Juncker says that "in the midst of international trade tensions, we are sending today a strong signal with our Mercosur partners that we stand for rules-based trade."

___

2:55 p.m.

Argentina says that South America's Mercosur trade bloc has struck a "strategic association" trade deal with the European Union.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that the "historic" agreement was clinched in the Belgian capital of Brussels following two decades of negotiations. The Mercosur bloc includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The ministry said that the Mercosur-EU association will mean the integration of a market of some 800 million people, about a fourth of the world's gross domestic product and more than $100 billion in bilateral trade of goods and services.

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