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Report: Mercosur, EU near deal signing on import tariff cuts

A deal between South America's Mercosur trade bloc and the European Union is near completion after two decades of talks on reduction of import tariffs, Bloomberg News reported, citing a South American diplomat involved in the talks.

The diplomat quoted a 70% likelihood of an agreement, noting that while serious obstacles remained unsettled, significant progress was made in the past week during talks in Brussels between the EU and Mercosur, which groups Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

"If Mercosur closes a deal of this magnitude with the EU, it'll be a game changer for economic recovery in Brazil and Argentina," said Matias Spektor, a professor of international relations at Brazil's FGV business school, according to the newswire.

While most parties remain determined to present an agreement before 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to be in no hurry as he informed a gathering in October that he was not in favor of rushing the negotiations, the newswire commented.