• Brazil,
  • Latin America,
  • Trade

Eight MEPs have sent a joint letter to Commissioners Juncker, Mogherini and Malmström today, calling on them to suspend negotiations on the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement.

The letter comes in response to statements from the new President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, in which he plans to allow destruction of the Amazonian rainforest and to imprison or exile dissidents.

Given the circumstances in which Bolsonaro was elected, the MEPs have significant concerns about trading with a government whose respect for democracy is highly questionable.

Co-author, MEP Helmut Scholz, who is a Member of the International Trade Committee and the GUE/NGL Shadow on the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement, comments: “The EU is a major player in global trade and the actions it supports through trade policy have enormous consequences – positive or negative – for communities around the world.”

“The EU is particularly responsible for shaping its commercial and economic cooperation with third countries in a way that promotes self-sufficient and sustainable development in the interest of all citizens.

“Trade should therefore be oriented to ensuring the implementation of all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, based on the joint commitments to the UN 2030 Agenda.

“The EU’s approach must be brought into line with these goals and support regional cooperation for any future trade deal with Brazil and other Mercosur countries.

“As Brazil is the largest trading partner among the states that are members of Mercosur, to continue negotiating the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement with Bolsonaro’s government would send a message that the EU doesn’t really care about climate change, environmental sustainability, human rights or democracy.”

Co-author of the letter, MEP Xabier Benito, who is the First Vice President of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Mercosur, adds: “The EU should not negotiate a trade deal with someone who only responds to the concerns of the big agribusiness lobby and may follow Donald Trump out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.”

“Trade should be people- and planet-centred, not just focused on profits. The majority of the world’s tropical forest is in the Brazilian Amazon and this must be preserved.”

In the letter, the MEPs have called upon the Commission to suspend the negotiations until the Commission can be sure that Brazil will comply with its democratic, human rights and environmental obligations.

The EU’s trade agreements with Chile, Mexico and Mercosur will be discussed in a meeting of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee on Tuesday November 20.

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Helmut Scholz


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