The EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement, its impacts on Agriculture
When trade is treated as an end in itself, trade agreements lock our societies into an unsustainable economic model. The EU-Mercosur deal is a case in point. The EU will import more meat and other agricultural products. With them, we will import emissions, deforestation, soil contamination and human rights abuses— while endangering local farmers’ livelihoods in the Mercosur region and in the European Union.
This study, carried out by the Institut de l’Elevage, focuses on agricultural and food goods, and the likely impacts of the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement’s implementation on social aspects, human health, animal welfare and the environment.
This study underlines the distortion of competition in agriculture (“level playing field”) between the EU27 and Mercosur. Regulations all along the agricultural production chains in Mercosur remain weak overall compared to EU regulations.
According to the study, the estimated additional deforestation as a consequence of the deal and increased beef exports can turn out to be covering an area of between a minimum of 620,000 ha and up to 1.35 million ha, in the worst case scenario, over the next 5 years. In a nutshell, the EU-Mercosur Agreement will result in increased trade but is expected to negatively affect both the environment and health: there will be losses of very high biodiversity-rich biomes, carbon release and impacts on climate change, increased risks of local pollution in Mercosur, and the impact of increasing antibiotic and pesticide use on both Mercosur citizens’ and European consumers’ health.
As a major economic player, the study finds that the EU has a responsibility to ensure that its trade is consistent with its environmental, climate and social objectives. Policy coherence is crucial if there is to be any chance that the negative impacts of EU-Mercosur deal can be prevented.