Mercosur trading bloc to sign free trade deal with Israel

The Mercosur trading bloc - made up of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay - will sign a free trade agreement with Israel during its summit this week, Israel's Ambassador to Uruguay, Yoel Barnea, said Sunday. "It's a very broad and complex agreement, with some products getting zero tariffs from the start and others getting it in four years or more," Barnea told reporters, adding that further details about the accord would be disclosed on Tuesday. The agreement was initially supposed to have been signed on Monday, at the start of Mercosur's two-day summit, but was postponed 24 hours to allow for the arrival of Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. Presidents Tabare Vazquez of Uruguay, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Cristina Kirchner of Argentina, and Nicanor Duarte, of Paraguay are due to attend the summit. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will also be present, but not as a full Mercosur member since Venezuela's admission to the trading bloc is still pending approval from Paraguayan and Brazilian lawmakers.