SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias said Portugal favors swift approval of the trade agreement between the European Union and the South American trade bloc Mercosur as she visited Lisbon, according to a statement late on Monday.
“We remain committed so that the agreement can be quickly put into practice,” Maria do Céu Antunes, Portugal’s agriculture minister said in a statement from the Brazilian agriculture ministry.
On Oct. 7, the European Parliament passed an amendment that indicated that the deal with Mercosur should not be ratified as it stands, the latest expression of opposition to an agreement that needs to be approved by all 27 EU member states.
France and Ireland have threatened to vote against a trade deal unless Brazil takes its environmental obligations more seriously. Last month, the French government said that a new report on deforestation confirmed its opposition to the current version of the EU-Mercosur trade
The EU and the South American bloc Mercosur agreed on a free trade treaty in June of 2019, a landmark deal concluding two decades of talks and committing to more open markets in the face of a rising tide of protectionism.
But the agreement has since come under scrutiny after claims the Brazilian government is not doing enough to stop deforestation in the Amazon, protect the environment and prevent climate change, a notion rejected by the Brazilian government.
“It must be said that the agreement does not pose any threat to the environment, human health and social rights,” Dias said in the same statement, issued during her visit to Lisbon.
“On the contrary, it reinforces multilateral commitments and fosters best practices,” she said.
The European Union is Mercosur’s biggest trade and investment partner and its second largest for goods trade.
(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Bernadette Baum)