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.
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.
Read more about this subject
International trade agreements often have far-reaching consequences not only for the economy of a country, but also for people and the environment. It is primarily the most vulnerable groups who suffer most from these agreements.
Event / 22 February 2022, 16:00 - 17:30
What is the EU-Mercosur association treaty and why is it controversial? What could be the implications of the treaty for people and their livelihoods both in EU and Mercosur countries? For more information about these and other issues, see our new publication and join our interactive webinar next week!
Press release / 29 June 2020
Germany must use its influence as president of the EU in the second half of this year to ensure that the controversial EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is not signed. This is the message in a letter presented to German chancellor Angela Merkel today by 265 civil society and environmental organisations from the EU and Mercosur countries. The deal between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay will stimulate destruction of the natural environment and the violation of human rights in vulnerable areas in South America. The agreement will also give European farmers an unfair competitive advantage. Dutch signatories to the letter include Greenpeace and Both ENDS and various organisations united in the Handel Anders! coalition.
News / 18 June 2019
Open letter from more than 340 organisations: EU must stop negotiating treaty with South American countries.
Today, more than 340 organisations from both South America and Europe, including Both ENDS, have sent a joint open letter to European Union leaders calling for the EU to cease negotiations on the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement. The organisations and their constituencies are seriously concerned about increasing violations of indigenous human rights and damage to nature and the environment in Brazil.
Publication / 12 November 2020
Publication / 15 February 2022
Event / 25 October 2021, 14:30 - 18:00
Publication / 31 December 2020
Blog / 16 February 2021
The Netherlands can contribute much to making agriculture sustainable – nationally and internationally
If the Netherlands wants to make its agriculture and livestock industry sustainable and to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their products, it will also have to look beyond its own borders. The Netherlands is the world's second largest exporter of agricultural products. We have a great impact because, through our trade relations, we uphold a system of intensive agriculture that destroys ecosystems and undermines local production. Partly due to our trade in agricultural products, the Dutch economy is has a large, and growing, footprint. That should and can be different: the Netherlands is in a good position to lead the required transition in agriculture. Fortunately, the party manifestos for the coming elections offer sufficient opportunities to set that in motion. A new coalition can thus take decisive new steps.
News / 11 December 2015
Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, will be the epicenter of international trade from 15 to 18 December 2015. The representatives of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which currently has 162 member countries, will come together to negotiate. The different countries tend to have very different and often conflicting interests, which makes it difficult to reach agreements. Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS travels with Minister Ploumen as an official adviser and mediator from civil society. His role is to inform the Minister about the views and interests of civil society organisations around the world, in order for her to take these positions into consideration during the negotiations. We asked Ilge some clarifying questions.
Letter / 29 June 2020
Germany must use its influence as president of the EU in the second half of this year to ensure that the controversial EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is not signed. This is the message in a letter presented to German chancellor Angela Merkel today by 265 civil society and environmental organisations from the EU and Mercosur countries. The deal between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay will stimulate destruction of the natural environment and the violation of human rights in vulnerable areas in South America.
Event / 7 December 2021, 14:00 - 15:15
The European Union's (EU) foreign trade policy has many implications for the sustainability of food systems in developing countries, heavily impacting farmers, breeders, and citizens. The unhidden promotion by the EU of strong intellectual property rights on plants affects food systems from its very basis, i.e., the seeds that are available for farmers to grow. Amongst these intellectual property rights, the main instrument that is advocated by European authorities is the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, which provides exclusive rights to breeders over the propagating material of new plant varieties, while diminishing the rights of others to use the material for further breeding and hampering with the rights of farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell their seeds.
News / 2 April 2014
Today, on the 2nd of April, activists from Africa and Europe are staging a protest action in front of the European Parliament in Brussels to make the voices of the poor and marginalised citizens heard. Holding banners and chanting slogans to the beat of djembe drums, they asked the African and European governments to prioritise peoples’ rights and interest in their trade deals and particularly, in the EU trade and development policies with Africa. Why do they protest at this particular moment and what is Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS doing there?
Blog / 14 April 2020
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is often seen as an institution in crisis, powerless and no longer relevant, and especially after US president Donald Trump decided in 2019 to pull the plug on one of the WTO’s most important bodies (the one dealing with trade disputes). Now, more than 150 civil society organisations, networks and interest groups from around the world have signed an urgent letter to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, because they are seriously concerned about the state of affairs within the organization.
Publication / 7 November 2018
Press release / 30 June 2022
89 NGOs and farmers' organisations from Indonesia, the EU and around the world sent open letters to the EU Commission and the Indonesian government today, calling on them to refrain from any clause that restrict farmers' rights in a future free trade agreement.
News / 9 June 2022
This week, Geneva will be the epicenter of world trade, as trade ministers and other representatives from around the world gather for the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference. Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is present with a delegation. Our colleague Burghard Ilge is joining as an official member of the delegation, to represent civil society organisations. Colleague Fernando Hernandez will also travel to Geneva, to follow and try to influence the negotiations from outside the conference room together with other civil society organisations from around the world.
News / 25 April 2022
The European Union (EU) continues to demand that countries of the South introduce plant variety protection rights according to UPOV 91 in free trade agreements. This is happening in the ongoing negotiations of the EU with Indonesia, trying to take away Indonesia's flexibility to implement a law that suits its own needs and priorities. We therefore call to sign our letters on this subject to the European Commission and the Indonesian government.
Blog / 18 February 2022
Minister Liesje Schreinemacher for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation recently made her first working visit, to Kenya and Uganda. With this visit, the minister made a flying start in honouring the pledge in the new government's coalition agreement to formulate a 'targeted Dutch Africa strategy'. Such a strategy is desperately needed as, too often, our foreign trade is conducted at the expense of people and the environment, including in countries in Africa. The new strategy presents a perfect opportunity to ensure that the 'trade and aid' agendas are closely aligned.
Investment treaties must be inclusive, sustainable and fair. That means that they must not put the interests of companies before those of people and their living environment.