The government of Peru is yet to comply with its commitments to sustainable development, part of the Free Trade Agreement with the EU that went into force five years ago, GUE/NGL MEP Helmut Scholz concluded on return from a delegation to the country last week.

The German MEP travelled to Peru with members of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament where he met with President Kuczynski, government representatives and Members of Parliament as well as civil society and business leaders. Scholz commented:

“Contrary to the positive evaluation of the FTA by the Peruvian government and representatives of big businesses in relation to economic development and commercial relations, all members of the parliamentary delegation could see that Peru has failed in its commitments to sustainable development.”

“It was clear that the Government of Peru did not want to create a local consultative body as required in the sustainable development clause of the agreement. The contrasting views between government and civil society on how far Peru has gone in applying ILO standards and other international obligations show the need to reconsider the functioning of national and regional councils and committees.”

“Improvements related to human rights, employment, social and environmental standards as well as protection of the rights of indigenous people were all part of a road map approved by the European Parliament as precondition for the ratification of the Agreement.”

“The European Economic and Social Committee, a consultative body of the EU, affirmed just days ago that the clause on sustainable development is an essential part of EU FTAs,” Scholz added.

Only six percent of Peruvian workers in the private sector and 16 percent in the public sector are registered with trade unions, while 72 percent percent of all workers in the country take part in the informal economy, with numbers worsening last year. MEPs noted that five years into the FTA, in at least 11 of the 25 regions of the country, there was no established labour inspection system before goods are exported to the EU.

The majority of goods benefiting from the EU FTA come from extractive industries and agriculture with little to no exports of manufactured goods. Questions to the Ministry of Economy about a strategy or plan for diversification of national production remained unanswered.

Concerns were also raised about the impact of oil exploration and mining on indigenous communities and on water supply to the capital Lima. Palm oil plantations by big businesses such as the Romero group and companies from Indonesia and Malaysia have destroyed several hectares of the Amazon forest.  

“It is understandable that Peru wants to join the OECD but this cannot happen until it meets minimum environmental and social standards for its people. As for the implementation of the FTA, I expect that the government takes steps to establish a local advisory group with support from the EU as the existing national dialogue structures are not functioning,” Scholz concluded.

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