For more than 20 years, the European Union and the Mercosur countries struggled to negotiate over a trade agreement. Finally, while Brazil was under the leadership of Bolsonaro, a political agreement was reached in July of 2019. The deal as negotiated is in principle a neocolonial, extractivist instrument: intended to secure EU imports of commodities and raw materials from South America, while increasing EU exports of industrial and chemical products.

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The point of the deal is to boost trade in agricultural products like meat and soy, chemicals like pesticides, and cars and car parts. It is in direct opposition to the goals of the European Green Deal. The devil is not just in the details – the whole agreement is set up to take us backwards on climate action and nature protection, for the benefit of the European automotive and chemical industries and for large-scale South American agribusiness.

The planned agreement would be devastating for the climate and people. The EU already imports large quantities of beef and soya as animal feed from the Mercosur trade area. Every day, gigantic areas of rainforest in the Amazon and neighbouring regions have to give way to cattle pastures and soya cultivation. The green heart of the earth is suffering from European consumer greed. The planned free trade agreement would increase exports and further exacerbate the existing problems. If the treaty is ratified in its present form, the clear message is: profit for the few takes precedence over everything. Cosmetic changes such as those the European Commission is pursuing must be rejected as sham solutions.

This briefing summarises existing studies, investigations and legal analyses by Greenpeace organisations with regards to the EU-Mercosur deal.