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Press release / 25 October 2021

New report: EU-Mercosur trade agreement a disaster for people and the environment

The EU-Mercosur trade agreement leads to environmental destruction, violation of the land rights of farmers and indigenous people and the loss of industrial jobs in the Mercosur countries. It also creates unfair competition for European farmers. The Handel Anders! coalition is calling for an alternative agreement to improve the political cooperation between the EU and the Mercosur countries and is making proposals for just and sustainable international trade rules. That is the core message of new publication presented today in the Nieuwspoort in The Hague.

For the publication, the authors (from organisations including Both ENDS, the Dutch trade union federation FNV and Platform ABC) interviewed various representatives from the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), including indigenous leaders, scientists and people affiliated to civil society organisations and trade unions. That makes the publication unique.

Disastrous consequences
In the publication, Handel Anders! describes the consequences of the deal for agriculture, the climate and environment, indigenous peoples, and the economy and employment in the Mercosur countries. "The consequences are downright disastrous," says Sara Murawski, co-author of the report. "The EU-Mercosur agreement promotes trade in products like soya, meat and sugar, which leads to deforestation, environmental destruction and human rights violations. Large agricultural companies in the Mercosur countries are causing widespread enforced relocation of indigenous communities. Furthermore, the agreement promotes more low-productivity jobs in sectors like agriculture and mining and furthers de-industrialisation in the Mercosur countries."

EU countries are also suffering from the consequences of the EU-Mercosur agreement. It creates unequal competition for European farmers and livestock holders by allowing the import of products produced according to (much) lower standards. That exposes family businesses even more to the race to the bottom on the global market, which mainly benefits multinationals.

Towards fair and sustainable cooperation
The Handel Anders! coalition is therefore making proposals for a new cooperation agreement, based on the sustainable development of local industries, science and decent jobs in the Mercosur countries. The coalition is calling for greater European self-reliance through market protection and regulation of the EU market in agricultural products. That will assure EU farmers of a fair price for their products and end dumping in the Global South. According to the coalition, the EU must ultimately stop importing products from the Mercosur countries completely if it leads to environmental destruction, violation of land rights and the emission of greenhouse gases.

The publication will be presented today during the Latin America Debat (organised by a consortium of NGOs and trade unions) from 14:30 in the Nieuwspoort, in The Hague.

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