After 20 years of negotiations, the EU and Mercosur today signed a political agreement on their future Association Agreement. Reacting to this news, S&D Group vice-president Bernd Lange MEP, said:
“The Mercosur countries are strategic partners for Europe, given our strong social and cultural ties, not only from an economic, but also from a political perspective.
“We call on both partners to publish the draft text as soon as possible so that the European Parliament and the general public can scrutinize the deal. We will study the text in great detail, particularly the parts on sustainable development. We will only support the deal if the commitments to the Paris Climate agreement and the ILO core labour standards are upheld. Otherwise, further negotiations will be needed. In light of recent statements and decisions by the Brazilian government, it must be made crystal clear that Europe will only sign a trade deal that puts sustainability at its heart.
“Only if it ensures fair competition between our agricultural producers and those of the Mercosur countries, will it be a fair trade deal.”
Note to the editor:
Currently, relations between the EU and Mercosur are governed by a Framework Cooperation Agreement. The new deal consists of three pillars: a political pillar, a cooperation pillar and a trade pillar, which have been negotiated with the four founding members of Mercosur, namely Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and to date excludes Venezuela, which joined Mercosur only in 2012.
The trade pillar contains a Dispute Settlement Mechanism and a Sustainable Development Chapter; features the S&Ds have in their push for a progressive trade policy insisted on as must-haves for all EU trade agreements.
When concluded, the EU-Mercosur trade agreement would cover 750 million people and could save EU exporters more than 4000 million euros per year, 8 times the benefit of CETA.