Brazil adopts free trade with Palestinian Authority as show of support


BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil has put into effect a free trade agreement with the Palestinian Authority that has been awaiting ratification for more than a decade, in a sign of support for the Palestinian people.

“The agreement is a concrete contribution to an economically viable Palestinian state that can live peacefully and harmoniously with its neighbors,” Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Brazil, which recognizes a Palestinian state and in 2010 authorized the construction of a Palestinian embassy in the Brazilian capital, on Friday ratified the agreement between the South American trade bloc Mercosur and the Palestinian Authority, signed in 2011.

According to a source at the Foreign Ministry, Uruguay supports the Palestinian deal. According to him, there is little resistance because Mercosur has a similar agreement with Israel.

It was not clear whether other Mercosur members would follow Brazil’s lead. Argentina’s right-wing government under President Javier Milei is not expected to do so. Paraguay’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Palestinian ambassador to Brasilia, Ibrahim Al Zeben, called Brazil’s decision “courageous, supportive and timely”.

It is “the effective way to support peace in Palestine,” he said in a message to Reuters, adding that he hopes Palestine’s trade with Mercosur, currently just $32 million a year, will grow.

(Reporting by Anthony BoadleEditing by Bill Berkrot and Franklin Paul)

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