Don’t Let Free Trade Agreement Destroy Amazonia

Target: Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission

Goal: Protect the Amazon rainforest from destruction.

A proposed landmark agreement between the EU and the Mercosur trade bloc–Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay–is threatening Amazonia. Not only will its beautiful landscape be in danger, but also the people residing in the affected countries.

This agreement includes a market of hundreds of millions of people and covers twenty-five percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it one of the largest free trade regions in the world. If realized, the agreement will destroy an immense part of the Amazon rainforest for the Mercosur countries to export even more beef to the EU.

Industrial agriculture, landowners, and cellulose companies in South America mercilessly clear land to make way for new cattle feedlots and massive soy, eucalyptus, and sugar cane plantations. Additionally, the Amazon rainforest suffers from invasive fires and Brazil’s negligent care about its state.

Yet, the European Commission fervently aims for a free trade and association agreement with the countries of the South American Mercosur alliance. More than ninety percent of the charges for Mercosur exports to the EU are to be eliminated, benefiting in particular agricultural products like beef, sugar, genetically modified soy, and ethanol.

There is a major outcry from the European public against the agreement. Members of the European Parliament, the business community, and governments of the EU member states all oppose the deal. Because of the strong resistance, the European Commission is trying to save the trade deal with a legal trick. The economic part, including the free trade agreement, is to be finalized by the Commission and the Council of Ministers behind closed curtains. Solely the political part, the association agreement, will go through the European Parliament and the parliaments and governments of the 26 EU member states.

The Mercosur countries strongly encourage the project that will cut down countless trees to make room for huge industrial soy farms and cattle feedlots. A free trade agreement between them and the EU would endorse further environmental crimes in South America. Please sign the petition below to stop this potentially catastrophic agreement.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Dombrovskis,

The proposed trade agreement with the Mercosur countries, facilitating exports to Europe, will have devastating consequences for the environment, people, and animals. Higher beef quotas will lead to the clearing of forests and savannas and will increase pressure on European farmers to increase their beef production. The consequence is more feedlots and with them, more animal abuse.

Agriculture in South America is often connected to disagreements over land rights and human rights violations, such as slave labor. Additionally, the excessive use of toxic chemicals, including the agricultural herbicide glyphosate, will endanger the health of many people and the environment. Furthermore, the newly proposed regulations about non-tariff trade barriers will endanger European environmental standards, workers, and consumers’ rights.

By negotiating behind closed doors, the European Commission follows the same strategy as with previous agreements, which resulted in a huge public outcry. The EU seems not to care about these protests and, with the Mercosur agreement, is pursuing another damaging policy. The destruction of our planet for human gain has to stop. I urge you to cancel the planned agreement now.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Matt Zimmerman

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One Comment

  1. Paula Morgan says:

    What aspect of climate change do these greedy companies, individuals, and countries not understand. There are too many people in the world for the planet to support. People demand meat, countries pay for it and yet there will be no one left on earth to enjoy the profits from a less than sustainable demand. This is not fiction, it’s fact. What a horrible end to face due to people, their demands, their ignorance and their appetite. Reasonable or not, the world is going straight into the end as if we were facing a giant asteroid. We will not get a second chance to curb climate change. Forethought seems to have been misplaced but needs to be quickly found!

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