The signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Mercosur and the European Union on 28 June 2019, means that one of the world’s longest-running trade negotiations has come to an end – or has it?
For REBRIP, after two decades of highlighting the potential impact of this FTA on Brazil and other Mercosur countries*, the deal represents a major blow for national sovereignty, human rights and inclusive and sustainable development. REBRIP is calling on civil society to block the ratification at national level.
The FTA is expected to support the expansion of EU corporations’ interests. Mercosur’s two main negotiating countries, Brazil and Argentina, are politically and economically weak, marked by neoliberal and authoritarian governments, and likely to succumb to the EU’s interests.
As civil society expected, the final phase of the agreement was negotiated without any transparency or political debate, preventing monitoring by civil society and the populations that will be affected. The details of the text are not yet known, nor the extension of the concessions made by Mercosur. However, there are key concerns, including for Brazil’s environment, health, (especially in relation to preventing access to more affordable, generic medicines), water, education, the digital economy and security.
REBRIP has followed the negotiations since 1999 and provided arguments and evidence along the way, often conflicting with the EU’s demands, in order to highlight the impact the agreement would have on Mercosur countries. After two decades of resistance, the Mercosur governments finally gave in. It is therefore time to call on social movements to mobilze to prevent the ratification of the agreement at national level.
*Mercosur countries: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia. Plus ‘associated states’: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam.