BRASILIA, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc and the European Union (EU) could have a free trade agreement ready to be signed before Brazil's presidential elections in October, Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes said on Wednesday.
Negotiations are making headway, with the two blocs having resolved many disagreements, Nunes told a congressional hearing at the Chamber of Deputies.
"We are overcoming the obstacles little by little," Nunes told lawmakers.
"We had a series of technical rounds and concluded last week a new round of negotiation. I hope we can close (a deal) this year as elections will be take placing soon in Europe and Brazil," said Nunes.
Among the issues, the two sides have yet to agree on the rules regulating the automotive sector and intellectual property rights, particularly the pharmaceutical patents.
Rules regulating sugar and meat exports, especially in the wake of Brazil's meatpacking scandal, are also under review.
The Mercosur-EU deal has been 18 years in the making due to significant economic gaps between European and South American nations and the protective policies in some European countries, said Nunes.
Mercosur groups Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It has suspended Venezuela indefinitely.