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Six reasons NOT to ratify the EU-Mexico Global Agreement

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4 July 2022

The undersigned civil society organisations, trade unions, human rights, animal welfare and environmental defenders, address this statement to policy makers in Mexico and the European Union (EU) to call on them not to ratify the "modernised" EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (EU-Mexico FTA). The text was negotiated behind the backs of citizens without debate or public consultation, and was finalised in April 2020, in the midst of one of the worst health, social and economic crises in the world, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU-Mexico FTA has been in force for twenty years and far from fulfilling its promises, it has only generated serious social, economic and environmental harm, first and foremost for Mexico. The "modernised" agreement will only deepen those problems for the following reasons:

1. The agreement only protects foreign investors and jeopardises urgent changes in favour of climate, environment and people

The new agreement will have a new chapter on investment that aims to consolidate using international arbitration as a mechanism for resolving disputes between investors and states. Worryingly, the proposed Investment Court System (ICS) does not address the worst parts of the classic investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This means that EU investors will be able to sue Mexico (and vice versa) in a parallel justice system that prioritises their private interests, while environmental, social and general regulations take a back seat. In recent years, many of these lawsuits have been initiated by transnational investors to attack environmental measures and legislation. For example, in 2010-2013 the Spanish transnational Abengoa COFIDES sued Mexico after refusing to comply with environmental regulations, and obtained US$ 48 million in "compensation and lost profits". With Mexico’s recent reforms on electricity and lithium mining, confirmed by the Supreme Court of Justice, some European transnationals, including Iberdrola, have already threatened Mexico with using the ISDS mechanism. Europe has also received several such lawsuits for approving climate policies, such as German energy giant RWE against the Netherlands over its plans to phase out coal by 2030. Signing the EU-Mexico FTA will lead to more such lawsuits on both sides of the Atlantic, compromising national budgets and delaying necessary changes in favour of climate, environment and welfare of people and animals.

2. The agreement will allow European corporations to continue violating human rights in Mexico with impunity

European companies have a long history of violating human and environmental rights in Mexico with almost total impunity. This will be reinforced with the modernised EU-Mexico FTA, as it still fails to provide effective regulatory mechanisms. Some examples of this situation can be found id: tariff abuses and the violation of the right of access to electricity, in the context of monopoly control by Iberdrola, Naturgy, Acciona Energía, Fisterra; or the violation of the right of access to water, and the arbitrary tariffs of Agsal-Suez (now Veolia) in Coahuila, Veracruz, Mexico City and Cancún. In the cases of the water bottling companies, Bonafont/Danone are accountable for dispossession and devastation in the Choluteca Zone, where the resistance of the United Peoples is being criminalised and repressed. The new treaty will also deepen the impunity of European corporations involved in the construction of large-scale projects with serious socio-environmental impacts on the territory, such as the Morelos Integral Project (PIM), the mega wind farms, the Interoceanic Corridor in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, or the Mayan Train, among others. In these cases, either the right to prior, free, informed and culturally appropriate consultation and consent or refusal has been directly violated, or the implementation, which does not adhere to international standards, is generating major divisions and conflicts between communities. The "Agreement in Principle" of the "modernised" EU-Mexico FTA does not include binding clauses that reflect any willingness on the part of these corporations to respect human rights, nor does it allow those affected to have effective mechanisms for access to justice, reparations and non-repetition. The human rights clause in the EU-Mexico Global Agreement (contained in the EU-Mexico FTA) has never been activated, despite proposals to this end by civil society organisations and in the European Parliament itself.

3. The agreement does not allow for progress on women’s rights and gender equality

The modernised EU-Mexico FTA reinforces patriarchal patterns entrenched in Mexican and European societies. The treaty does not provide for any mechanism to end discrimination against women and LGBTIQ people, nor does it include inclusive "gender" language. In this sense, the agreement does not talk about the need to modernise and question male and female roles and their different social tasks. Furthermore, the few explicit clauses on women that existed in the old version of the treaty have been removed, namely Art. 36 mentioning low-income women and Art. 37 on the role of women in productive processes. The promotion of equal opportunities is now only mentioned when referring to ILO-approved labour standards, without mechanisms that can be monitored. The different chapters of the treaty will punish twice the majority of women who are poor. As workers, farmers or entrepreneurs, they risk being pushed out of the market by unequal competition from European corporations, especially in the dairy and meat industries. On the other hand, the extended public procurement chapter or the intellectual property protection chapter promotes an economic model that undermines public services such as health or access to affordable medicines. The predictable precariousness caused by the reprimarisation of the economic model will only reinforce a patriarchal model that will increase the already countless victims of gender-based violence.

4. The agreement attacks peasant agriculture and erodes food sovereignty

Free trade agreements such as the EU-Mexico FTA are directly linked to the global agro-industrial system, which has a devastating impact on the right to independent agriculture and trade, the right to food and health, while being one of the main causes of the climate crisis. In this context, the results are: an attack on peasant agriculture by privatising and land grabbing, expelling people, and triggering migration; subsidising the model of export monoculture exploiting slave labour, dependent on GMOs, agrochemicals, energy and water; or large-scale farms which have been at the origin of pandemics such as the A/H1N1 flu. Mexican and European agribusiness corporations will benefit from this model boosted by the EU-Mexico FTA. Currently, the German transnational corporations as Bayer-Monsanto continue to import GMOs and agrochemicals, headed by glyphosate. In doing so, they are reproducing the damage to health that affects 99% of French people. On the other hand, the European Union is pressuring Mexico to sign the 91 version of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The mere acceptance of the entire UPOV system, in any of its versions, legitimises the privatisation of seeds and is a direct attack on independent peasant agriculture, i.e. on the pillar of food sovereignty. Farmers in Europe will also be affected by the increase in imports from Mexico.

5. The agreement impedes progress towards a more sustainable, decentralised and democratic energy system

The incorporation of a chapter on energy in the EU-Mexico FTA seeks to shield the privatisation of the sector, which was consolidated with the 2013 constitutional energy reform. This privatisation has had direct impacts on the population, such as higher electricity prices. It has also consolidated the model of large-scale projects (both PPPs and private initiatives) for electricity generation, leading to the privatisation of communal lands, repression and aggression against affected populations, environmental impacts and corruption. Many European, and in particular Spanish, energy transnational corporations have interests in Mexico and are the main promoters of this treaty. Some of those include Ibedrola, Naturgy and Acciona (Spain), Enel (Italy) and Engie (France).

6. Procurement procurement and public services at risk

The "modernised" EU-Mexico FTA opens up public procurement for the first time to European corporations in Mexico and vice versa. This means that private interests will be put ahead of public interests, based on the assumption that what is good for investors is good for society. Such an assumption ignores the impacts of corporate interests on the polarisation of income and wealth, environmental deterioration and social degradation, and the commodification of culture and history. It also affects business development itself, to the detriment of micro and small producers and to the benefit of large transnational capital, both European and Mexican. Finally, it damages bi-continental social and solidarity practices, to the benefit of big capital, which has no flags. Development, both European and Mexican, must prioritise the legitimate conditions and aspirations of societies and not profit.

In conclusion, Mexico has become one of the world’s leading industrial paradises, that is, one of the most advanced laboratories for free trade and deregulation. The result has been unprecedented economic, social and environmental devastation, and a multiplicity of "sacrifice zones" or "environmental hells", which continue to claim thousands of lives every year. It should not be forgotten that many of these companies are also the main responsible for decades of privatisation and plunder of the public sector in Europe, jeopardising fundamental rights such as the right to housing, the right to food, the right to water and the right to energy.

The EU-Mexico FTA is the triumph of European and Mexican transnational capital at the expense of the living conditions of the populations and environment on both sides of the Atlantic.

Based on the above, we are concerned that the context of the war in Europe is being used as an excuse to accelerate the ratification of the agreement, with the serious implications that this would have on the Mexican and European populations. For the future to be viable and sustainable, the trade policy model of the 21st century must put the well-being of communities, peoples and environmental first.

Therefore, European, Mexican, regional and international civil society organisations say NO to the EU-Mexico trade and investment agreement! And we demand our political leaders to oppose its ratification.


1. Aitec, France
2. Alianza Sierra Madre A.C., Mexico
3. Alofa Tuvalu, France
4. alterNativa intercanvi amb pobles indígenes, Spain
5. Alternatiba, France
6. Aluna Minga e.V. , Germany
7. Amis de la Terre, France
8. Anders Handeln, Austria
9. Action non-violente COP21, France
10. Asamblea de Defensores del Territorio Maya Múuch’ Xíinbal, Mexico
11. Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en defensa de la tierra y el territorio, Mexico
12. Asociación por la Paz y los Derechos Humanos Taula per Mèxic, Spain
13. Assemblea de Solidaritat amb Mèxic, Spain
14. Associació Internacional de Solidaritat i Cooperació (SUDS), Spain
15. Association of Ethical Shareholders, Germany
16. Attac Austria, Austria
17. Attac España, Spain
18. Attac France, France
19. Ayotzinapa por los derechos humanos en Mexico, Sweden
20. Bizilur, Euskal Herria
21. BLOOM Association, France
22. Both ENDS, The Netherlands
23. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, International
24. CADTM France, France
25. Caminando por la justicia Atitalaquia , Mexico
26. Campaña estatal No a los Tratados de Comercio e Inversión, Estado español
27. Campanya Catalunya No als TCI, Spain
28. Cátedra Jorge Alonso, Mexico
29. CCFD-Terre Solidaire, France
30. Centro de derechos humanos de los pueblos del Sur de Veracruz Bety Cariño A.C., Mexico
31. Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano, Mexico
32. Centro de Promoción y Educación Profesional "Vasco de Quiroga", Mexico
33. Centro Fray Julian Garcés Derechos Humanos y Desarrollo Local A.C., Mexico
34. CETRI - Centre tricontinental, Belgium
35. CICrA Justicia Ambiental, Spain
36. CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium
37. Coalicion de Extrabajadaoras y Trabajadoras de la Industria Electrónica Nacional (CETIEN), Mexico
38. Colectivo Azul, Mexico
39. Colectivo Comunitario de mejoramiento barrial de la Ciudad de México, Mexico
40. Colectivo por la Autonomía, México
41. Colectivo Raíz de Aguascalientes AC, Mexico
42. Colectivo Xa’aybej, Mexico
43. Collectif Alerte France Brésil / MD18 , France
44. Collectif Stop CETA-Mercosur, France
45. Comité de Derechos Humanos de la Sierra Norte de Veracruz, Mexico
46. Comite de solidaridad con los Pueblos Indigenas de las Americas (CSIA-Nitassinan), France
47. Comité pour l’abolition des dettes illegitimes (CADTM), International
48. Comité Pauvreté et Politique, France
49. Comunar AC, Mexico
50. Confederation Paysanne, France
51. Consejo Me
52. Consultoría Técnica Comunitaria, A. C., Mexico
53. Convocados por Lúdica, Argentina
54. CooperAccio, Spain
55. Coordinadora Socialista Revolucionaria (CSR), Mexico
56. CRID, France
57. Debt Observatory in Globalisation (ODG), Spain
58. DECA Equipo Pueblo AC , Mexico
59. Desmi, Mexico
60. Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
61. Ekologistak Martxan Euskal Herria, Euskal Herria
62. Emmaus International, France
63. Enginyeria sense Fronteres, Spain
64. Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación A.C., Mexico
65. Entrepueblos-Entrepobles-Entrepobos-Herriarte, Spain
66. Espacio Estatal en Defensa del Maíz Nativo de Oaxaca, Mexico
67. ETC Group, International
68. ETCO, Mexico
69. Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France
70. European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), Europe
71. Fairwatch, Italy
72. FDCL - Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.V., Germany
73. Feria del Dulce, Mexico
74. Fondation Copernic, France
75. Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, France
76. France Amérique Latine (FAL), France
77. France Nature Environnement, France
78. FSU, France
79. Fundacion Para el Desarrollo Integral Apaxco , Mexico
80. Gender Alliance for Development Centre, Albania
81. Gender and Development in Practice (GADIP), Sweden
82. Générations Futures, France
83. GRAIN, International
84. Grupo de Agricultura Orgánica de La Ciénega, Mexico
85. Grupo de Estudios Ambientales (GEA), Mexico
86. Ila e.V., Bonn, Germany
87. IM Swedish development partner, Sweden
88. Iniciativas para el Desarrollo de la Mujer Oaxaqueña (IDEMO), Mexico
89. Initiative Mexiko, Germany
90. – Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global, Spain
91. Les Amis du Monde Diplomatique, France
92. Ligue des droits de l’Homme - LDH, France
93. Lurgatz Talde Feminista, Euskal Herria
94. Novact - Instituto Internacional para la Acción Noviolenta, Spain
95. Notre Maison Brûle, France
96. Observatori DESC, Spain
97. Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina (OMAL), Spain
98. Oficina Ecuménica por la Paz y la Justicia e.V., Germany
99. Organización Familia Pasta de Conchos, Mexico
100. Otros Mundos AC/Chiapas, Mexico
101. Partner Suedmexikos e.V., Germany
102. Peace Brigades International, Mexico
103. Permacultura ATTA, Spain
104. Plataforma América Latina mejor sin TLC, Regional
105. PowerShift , Germany
106. Proceso de articulación de la Sierra de Santa Marta , Mexico
107. Procesos Integrales para la Autogestión de los Pueblos, Mexico
108. Promotora por la Suspensión del Pago de la Deuda Pública (CADTM member), Mexico
109. Proyecto sobre Organización, Desarrollo, Educación e Investigación (PODER), Mexico
110. R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, Mexico
111. REAS Euskadi, Spain
112. Red en Defensa del Maíz, Mexico
113. Red europea de Comités Oscar Romero (SICSAL-Europa), Belgium
114. Red Mayense de Guardianas y Guardianes de Semillas, Mexico
115. Reds - Red de solidaridad para la transformación social, Spain
116. Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B), Europe
117. SETEM Catalunya, Spain
118. Solidarios de la Voz del Amate, Mexico
119. STEILAS Sindikatua, Euskal Herria
120. The Oakland Institute, United States
121. Tierra y Libertad para Arauco - Wallmapu, France
122. Transnational Institute (TNI), The Netherlands
123. Un Salto de Vida, Mexico
124. Union syndicale Solidaires, France
125. Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo de Tehuantepec , Mexico
126. Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez Oaxaca, S. C., Mexico
127. Uno de Siete Migrando AC, Mexico
128. UYOOL CHE AC, Mexico
129. Védegylet Egyesület / Protect the Future Association, Hungary
130. Women In Development Europe+ (WIDE+), Belgium
131. ZEB Württemberg Lutheran Church/Stuttgart, Germany

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