The European Commission and Mercosur trade bloc are considering a bilateral trade agreement which would provide ‘robust reassurances’ to help address environmental concerns around Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

The announcement was made by DG trade officials at last week’s trade policy committee on 22 March.

The understanding is hoped to be translated into a legal instrument, which would measure progress on the ground.

Officials acknowledged that the increased pace of forest fires in the Amazon, coupled with deforestation in Brazil, gave rise to criticism among stakeholders.

Green deal support

In terms of the timeline for this work, officials say the agreement will take time, pointing to the end of 2021 at the earliest, adding that they will use this time to pursue engagement on sustainability with Mercosur.

On the EU’s green deal, officials underlined that the proposed bilateral trade accord “not only can, but will support the green deal in many ways”.

They insisted that this will be binding and enforceable, with dedicated dispute settlement mechanisms.

“The free trade agreement will liberalise many green goods which should help lower the carbon footprint of production in Mercosur and make it easier to provide environmental services,” officials said.

“Strong international property rights rules and improved enforcement frameworks will facilitate a more extended use of environmental and green technology transfer.”