Buenos Aires Times | France opposes EU-Mercosur trade deal over deforestation concerns

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France remains opposed to a free trade agreement in its current form proposed between the EU and countries in South America due to “major” concerns about deforestation in the region, the government said on Friday.

The French government is due to make three demands for the continuation of negotiations, which would crucially include meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, he said in a statement.

The pact between the European Union and the South American free trade bloc of Mercosur – comprising Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – was concluded in principle last year after two decades of feuds.

“The draft agreement does not contain any provision to impose discipline on the practices of the Mercosur countries in the fight against deforestation”, declared the French government.

“This is the main gap in this agreement and it is the main reason why, as it stands, France is opposed to the draft agreement,” he added.

His statement comes as a report has been handed to Prime Minister Jean Castex who is extremely critical of the deal, describing it as “a missed opportunity for the EU to use its negotiating power to secure solid guarantees” on the deal. environmental issues.

The 184-page report, which was seen by AFP on Thursday, examines in detail Amazon deforestation and increased beef production in the region.

The pact has yet to be ratified by the 27 EU member states. France is far from being the only one to express its resistance.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month expressed “significant doubts” about the deal, given the scale of deforestation, her spokeswoman said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been one of the main criticisms of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic who has lifted restrictions on the exploitation of the vast riches of the Amazon.

In an extraordinary row last year, Macron berated the ‘extraordinarily rude’ Bolsonaro after the Brazilian leader personally expressed his approval for a Facebook post hinting that Brigitte Macron was not as attractive as his own first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro fired back, accusing Macron of treating Brazil as “a colony or a no man’s land”.

– HOURS / AFP

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