Chamber: Agriculture should not be part of trade deal with South America | economy
In Brussels, a parliamentary majority believes the Netherlands must make it “clear and ready” that agriculture will not be part of the Mercosur trade deal between Europe and the four South American countries. Although agriculture is a component, the Netherlands should block this plan. The Party for Animals is calling on the Cabinet to do so and is already getting enough support for this.
Parties against the deal fear it will lead to a “significant increase in unfair competition for European farmers”. They believe the safety of imported meat is at risk and could lead to further deforestation in the Amazon.
After nearly twenty years of negotiations, the EU reached an agreement in principle in 2020, which must now be further expanded. The House of Representatives has been opposed to the treaty for some time: a motion to withdraw support for the treaty was passed that same year. At that time, the government was unable to comply with the treaty as it was not yet ready. That is still the case today, says Agriculture Minister Pete Adema.
In any case, it remains to be seen whether the agreement with Mercosur will materialize. There is also opposition from other EU member states due to concerns about the environment and farmers. In 2020, then-foreign trade minister Sigrid Kok said the deal would be a “difficult one” for many member states.
Mercosur was formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and was intended to promote free economic movement. Venezuela is also a member, but the country suspended in 2016, citing the country’s human rights situation and failure to comply with the necessary democratic principles. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru and Suriname have separate cooperation agreements with Mercosur.
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