The EU is Brazil’s biggest trade partner – ahead of even China and the US.  Deutsche Welle reports that Brazil’s once positive trade balance with the EU has recently tumbled from a surplus of $3.3 billion (2.4 billion euros) in 2011 to a deficit of $7.1 billion in 2013. Additionally, trade volume over 2012 to 2013 sank from $37.4 billion to $33 billion.The initial conversation between Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso apparently went well. After their first meeting on Monday, Rousseff told reporters, “For the first time, we’re close to an agreement.”

She was referring to negotiations on a shared free trade deal sought by both sides for years. But there are more than just import and export considerations at stake. Both delegations announced talks would take place about financing an internet cable to run directly between Europe and Brazil.  The Mercosur/EU free trade talks are expected to begin March 21st 
of this year.

The EU and Brazil first discussed reducing trade barriers in 1999. Although Brazil has been one of the EU’s strategic partners since 2007, little more than a declaration of intent has come about – the discrepancies were too large between Brazil’s import tariffs and European agricultural subsidies.  Read the entire story here.