EU-Mercosur trade agreement: Could the environment pay the price?



Despite Brazil facing challenges complying with EU regulations on deforestation, Greenpeace claims Brazil is willing to compromise on certain single-use plastic standards to reach a deal. .


Brazilian officials said Wednesday that a new EU law banning the import of goods linked to deforestation is complicating trade deal negotiations with South America’s Mercosur bloc.

EU regulations approved in April require producers of soy, beef, coffee, timber and other goods to certify that their supply chains are free of deforestation.

“We must not allow this bill to disrupt the trade agreements between Mercosur and the 27 member states of the European Union,” Brazilian Vice President Gerard Alcumín said at a conference organized by the soybean processor association Abiove.

The group said the soy sector complies with a moratorium on farming in deforested areas, and Brazil already regulates deforestation under its forest law, which allows logging in some areas. It has said. Abiobe also says that Amazon farms must protect his 80% of the forest.

Brazil’s Foreign Trade Secretary Tatiana Prazeres said that while the onus is on EU importers to comply with the rules, trade negotiations cannot ignore the commercial impact of increased costs and red tape on exporters.

“They really don’t like the deforestation directive, but we are trying to reassure them that the implementation will take into account some of their concerns,” a European diplomat said.

Greenpeace: EU-Mercosur deal has ‘double standards’

The trade deal has already drawn criticism from environmental NGOs such as FOUR PAWS.

Joe Moran, the NGO’s director of European policy, previously spoke to Euronews about the allegations: Repeal a slew of proposed animal welfare regulations Last month may have been all about optics for the EU, given the European Commission’s efforts to conclude a Mercosur trade deal as soon as possible before next year’s European elections.

a new greenpeace analysis Reports that the trade deal would reduce tariffs on EU exports of single-use plastic products spurred a chorus of voices criticizing the deal.

“This deal is an outrageous example of the EU’s double standards,” said Lis Cunha, a trade campaigner at Greenpeace Germany. “It has been banned in Europe due to its health effects.” environment and human health. ”

“However, the EU is now ready to encourage international trade of the same products with Mercosur partner countries, with complete disregard for people’s health and nature beyond the EU’s borders,” Cunha added. .

What is the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement?

In 2019, the European Union and Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) reached a political agreement to expand bilateral trade and investment and remove barriers between EU countries and Mercosur markets.

The 27-nation bloc is already Mercosur’s largest trading and investment partner, with exports to Mercosur reaching €45 billion in goods in 2021 and €17 billion in services in 2020.

The goal of the new EU-Mercosur trade agreement is to lower tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and create common rules for trade and sustainable development. The commission states on its website:

The EU looks forward to economic growth, increased employment and increased activity in sustainable development on both sides.

However, the deal has been on hold since 2019, mainly due to European concerns over Amazon deforestation. Negotiations looked more promising After the victory of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the 2022 Brazilian presidential election, who reinstated old rules to protect the Amazon rainforest.

No matter how difficult it may prove to meet the EU’s rules on deforestation, Brazil’s Trade Minister Tatiana Prazeres and the Foreign Ministry’s Minister of Economy and Finance Mauricio Lirio announced on December 15, 2019, that the He said he looked forward to announcing a long-awaited conclusion to trade negotiations. Mercosur Summit on December 7th.

Lirio said he had asked for more time to implement deforestation regulations at a conference in Brussels last week. Companies have until January 1, 2025 to comply with the new law.


Earlier this year, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also expressed her hope for a deal by the end of the year at the latest.

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