European Regional Office of WFTU statement on EU and Mercosur Agreement

After nearly 20 years of negotiations, the European Union and the countries of Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) announced last June that they have reached an agreement on a comprehensive free trade agreement.

The new EU-Mercosur agreement is described as an agreement according to which Europe will sell more cars and cheeses in Latin America, while Mercosur countries will have the opportunity to sell more beef meat and ethanol to Europe.

Although the agreement was projected as an agreement that would push member states to apply higher environmental standards, including severe limits on logging and deforestation, the reality is that this will cause a significant increase in global greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions from the growing bilateral trade of eight major agricultural products are expected to increase by one third (34%). Mercosur bovine meat exports to the European Union will be the largest source of new emissions (82%) The carbon footprint of EU food exports to Mercosur is expected to increase fivefold.

With the picture of forest fires in the Amazon forests last August, people around the world have become aware of the link between agricultural businesses and the climate crisis. The jungle is being burnt to produce meat, soybeans and other agricultural raw materials, thereby increasing the profits of transnational companies in the field of food businesses.

Apart from the deterioration of the climate crisis, the agricultural provisions of the Mercosur Agreement of the European Union pose a numerous other threats. For example, as noted by the sugar industry in France, 74% of pesticides used for sugar cane production in Brazil are banned in Europe, while at the same time Brazil has adopted a variety of genetically modified sugar cane banned in Europe.

It is clear that the conclusion of an EU free trade agreement with MERCOSUR has as its strategic objective facilitating the penetration of EU monopolies into new markets, profitable areas of activity, the seizure of cheap raw materials and securing profitable services and industrial products.

Within the framework of the concentration of capital and the capitalist crisis, the policies promoted by international organizations such as the EU, the IMF and the WTO in the name of free trade serve the interests of multinationals. Through the intensification of capitalist exploitation they are putting more pressure on working people and poor peasant peoples to make more profits. The reckless exploitation of natural resources threatens the environmental conditions and the well-being of future generations with the sole purpose of maximizing profit.

In today’s conditions, anti-monopoly resistance, international solidarity and working people’s mobilization are the most crucial factors in defending worker’s rights and protecting labour and social gains against multinational policies.