Macron in Brazil makes agriculture resume criticism – 03/28/2024 – Market

Macron in Brazil makes agriculture resume criticism – 03/28/2024 – Market


The arrival in Brazil of Emmanuel Macron reignited criticism from agribusiness towards market policies and environmental demands from France and the European Union to Brazil, especially those made to the sector within the bloc’s so-called Green Deal.

Parliamentarians from the ruralist bench see a good window of opportunity to bring to light the debate on restrictions imposed by the EU on the import of Brazilian products, promote a bill to react to these rules and try to break European resistance to biofuels.

They cite the fact that, while the European Union approved a resolution to prohibit the sale of products from deforested areas, France blocked the bloc’s trade negotiations with Mercosur, at the same time that the country gave in to pressure from its own agricultural sector. and did not expand its environmental protection laws.

Macron arrived in Brazil on Tuesday (26), first in Pará, where he met President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT).

After passing through São Paulo this Wednesday (27), he will complete agendas in Brasília this Thursday (28), including involving Congress.

Senator Zequinha Marinho (PL-PA), for example, stated that it is “opportune” to resume debates on European restrictions at a time when Macron comes to the country.

He defends the approval of a bill of his authorship that creates an environmental reciprocity rule, which would determine that countries that trade with Brazil would have to have environmental rules as strict as those here.

Members of the ruralist bench understand that the proposal needs to be improved, but that there needs to be more equivalence in the relationship between countries.

“The Mercosur-EU agreement has been dragging on for years and, lately, things haven’t progressed much due to resistance from President Macron. Interestingly, they impose a series of restrictions on importing Brazilian products and have done little, in fact, to combat the increase in global climate temperature”, says Marinho.

The senator recalls that the European Union recently avoided expanding the environmental preservation area of ​​its farms from 4% to 7%, following protests from the agricultural sector of the old continent.

Therefore, he calls European environmental discourse hypocritical and “merely protectionist”.

“Our rules, which are complied with by national producers, will also have to be complied with by those who sell their products with Brazil. What is valid here will be valid for our commercial partners”, he says, about his proposal.

The import restriction in the European Union was approved in April 2023, as part of the bloc’s Green Deal.

The standard prohibits the sale in European territory of a series of products if they originate in areas of illegal deforestation.

Exporting countries will be classified as high, medium or low risk, a note that increases or reduces the level of rigidity and thoroughness in the inspection of their items.

This list includes items such as meat, wood, soy, coffee, cocoa, rubber and palm oil, as well as their derivatives, for example leather, chocolate, furniture, charcoal, printed paper products, among others.

Suppliers who want to sell their products in Europe will need to prove that their products originate in regular areas, and will be subject to inspection by European companies, which in addition to deforestation will also check, for example, whether the rights of indigenous peoples have been respected.

The rule will come into effect after December this year, but the revolt of supplier countries with the approval of the law meant that the European Union decided not to put the rule fully into practice at this time.

According to the Financial Times newspaper, instead of qualifying nations in the three risk categories, everyone will be kept, for now, in the average classification.

According to a European official told the newspaper, more time will be needed to implement a reliable system for the mechanism to fully function.

The agribusiness sector linked to biofuels understands that this could be an opportunity to reduce the resistance of the European Union to the product, and also of countries outside it, in the bloc called Efta.

Brazil, as well as the United States, are the main potential producers of biofuels in the world. In Europe, however, there is a widespread argument that ethanol production could disrupt food production, of which the old continent is a major importer.

Furthermore, members of Brazilian agribusiness complain that it was France that stopped negotiations on the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, and precisely on environmental protection grounds.

This Wednesday, vice-president Geraldo Alckmin stated that he would demand that Macron resume negotiations and that biofuels need to be included in the conversation.

“I’m going to São Paulo, President Macron is going to São Paulo. We’re going to have a meeting at Fiesp [Federação da Indústria do Estado de São Paulo] and I will demand the Mercosur-European Union agreement”, he said, in front of members of the ruralist group.

Macron, after the meeting, said that the agreement is “terrible”, because it has been negotiated for 20 years and needs to be rebuilt, taking into account issues of climate, decarbonization and biodiversity.


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