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Solidarity, equality, cooperation and sustainable trade: an alternative to the EU-Mercosur trade agreement

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Photo: The Left / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

S2B Network | 10 May 2023

Solidarity, equality, cooperation and sustainable trade: an alternative to the EU-Mercosur trade agreement


We firmly believe that the countries of the MERCOSUR and the EU need to improve and transform their relationship. In the last three years social movements, civil society organisations, trade unions, and farmers associations on both sides of the Atlantic have fought successfully together to stop the EU-Mercosur trade agreement from being ratified. The proposed agreement would serve primarily corporate interests at the expense of planetary boundaries, Indigenous people, family farmers, workers and animal welfare, and drive deindustrialisation and untenable social inequalities. This is nothing you can plaster over with some additional instruments. At the same time, our current economic relationship is already based on an asymmetric power relation and unequal terms of trade shaped by a history of colonialism with devastating effects on people, animals and the planet.

We, the undersigned organisations, thus believe that the EU-Mercosur agreement must be stopped and it is time to ground our common future on the principles of solidarity, equality, cooperation, sustainability and democracy. Our goal is not more unrestrained and uncontrolled trade and profits for the few but a good life for everyone. Trade can help us in the transition towards sustainable societies and methods of production but only if we base it on new principles. Negotiations concerning political, economic and sustainable trade relationships between our two regions must be based on these principles.


Our future relationship must not be based on exploitation but on solidarity. Therefore, we must put human rights, workers, Indigenous people, family farmers and animal welfare, protecting biodiversity and the climate front and centre. Those rights must be guaranteed universally, their protection must take precedence over any trade or business interests, and must be enforceable under international human rights law, not trade and investment law. We cannot allow transnational corporations any longer to profit from economic asymmetries and unequal rights.

Shaping our future with solidarity also means acknowledging and redressing the grossly unfair relationship and history of colonialism and exploitation that stems from it. Therefore, we must actively seek to decolonize our relations. This starts by acknowledging and taking responsibility for the historical social, ecological, financial and climate debt that Europe owes to the people from Mercosur countries, paying back those debts, including through public funding by the EU for Mercosur people’s development projects for just and sustainable societies, and in terms of trade, by granting comprehensive horizontal Special and Differential Treatment to Mercosur countries, industries and producers.


Trade and investment policies have so far contributed to increasing inequalities, between regions, and between people and reinforcing power relations like patriarchy, racism and neocolonialism profiting multinational corporations and big landowners. Future cooperation must change course and contribute to increasing equality. This starts by acknowledging indigenous rights, and supporting indigenous and rural communities, including Afro- descendant Quilombolas, landless and small-scale family farmers both in Europe and the Mercosur, riverine (Ribeirinhos) and small scale-fishing communities in maintaining their lands and culture and avoiding trading any product that can threaten it.

It further means overcoming economic models which are based on the appropriation of unpaid and underpaid reproductive labour on both sides of the Atlantic as well the discrimination of women in the labour market by transnational corporations thereby reinforcing patriarchal structures. Instead, future cooperation should foster public and community approaches to care. Therefore care work and public services provided by the State as a human right on a non for profit basis must be rooted locally and respected internationally.


Cooperation, not competition should be the principle we base our relationship on. Only huge corporations win when you pit workers and farmers against each other.

The EU and Mercosur should be able to protect peasant and family farmers against unfair competition and the Mercosur should be able to protect domestic industries that provide high- quality jobs.

Cooperation means that we should not seek to increase trade between our societies as a goal in itself but should primarily improve commercial partnerships of products that are produced sustainably and are not easily available on the other side.

Future cooperation must include the preferential transfer of technology and knowledge, free from corporate-controlled intellectual property rights, to support the necessary social and technological transformation of our economies by learning from each other.


Future cooperation must contribute to the transition towards sustainable societies and methods of production, be based on the principles of food sovereignty, agroecology, care and ensure reciprocity in high-quality standards across the board once decolonization measures have been taken by the EU and Special and Differential Treatment has been enacted.

Sustainability is not something you add at the end of an agreement in a separate non- enforceable chapter but a fundamental cross-cutting issue. Therefore, we should aim to trade only products that are not harmful to the planet, animals and people. This means stopping the trade of agricultural products from monocultures like soy and sugarcane and intensive animal farming which fuels deforestation, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonoses. Instead, we should trade sustainable products, favouring local and domestic products when possible. It also means to stop the export of harmful and dangerous products such as forbidden pesticides from Europe to the Mercosur. Sustainable trade also implies reducing emissions from transport. Our relationship can’t be based on the extraction of resources low on the valuechain for the benefit of European economies. People in the Mercosur need the right to say no to harmful extractivist practices and demand a fair price for their resources. Our trade relationship must focus on sustainable methods of production, and on products not available either in the EU or the Mercosur.


Finally, the relationship between the people of Mercosur and the EU cannot be decided behind closed doors. Any future cooperation must be based on the mentioned principles in a democratic, participatory and transparent way. Such a process must put the people most affected front and centre. Indigenous people, small scale peasant and family farmers, women and men, workers and civil society need to lead such a process, in order to guarantee that their interests and planetary boundaries are respected. The rights of Indigenous peoples, peasants, workers and women must be respected, and the people from both regions must have the right to say NO to any agreement that does not serve their legitimate interests and aspirations for democratic, sustainable and just societies.

Moreover, any future cooperation must safeguard the broadest possible policy space for governments to be able to fulfil their public interest mandates as a precondition for democracy and no trade and investment measures should be enacted that can threaten that policy space. Our common future depends on more robust democracies and people’s power, not stronger and further entrenched vested interests and corporate power.


Plataforma América Latina mejor sin TLC Regional
European Coordination Via Campesina Europe
WeMove Europe Europe
Friends of the Earth International Global
Greenpeace Global
Seattle to Brussels Network Europe
Le Mouvement de la Paix France
Cgt France
Les Amis du Monde diplomatique France
ZEA France
France Amérique Latine-FAL France
Groupe Non-Violent LOUIS LECOIN France
Alofa Tuvalu France
Emmaüs International France
Union syndicale Solidaires France
MRAP France
CCFD Terre Solidaire France
Notre Affaire À Tous France
Foodwatch France
Union syndicale Solidaires France
Fédération Artisans du Monde France
Autres Brésils France
Réseau Européen pour la Démocratie au Brésil (RED.Br) France
Comité Pauvreté et Politique France
Amis de la Terre France / Friends of the Earth France France
LDH France
ActionAid France France
Action Non-Violente COP21 France
Alternatiba France
BLOOM Association France
Copernic France
Générations Futures France
France Nature Environnement France
reseau roosevelt du travail pour tous france
FSU France
CADTM France France
Committee in Solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas (CSIA-Nitassinan) France
Aitec France
Confédération paysanne nationale France
Canopée France
Association Franco-Brésilienne pour les Peuples – AFBP France
medicusmundi España
UPO Spain
Trawunche Madrid (Coordinación de Apoyo al Pueblo Mapuche) España
Sevilla no al TTIP Sevilla- Spain
CGT (Confederación General del Trabajo) España
Asamblea Plaza de los pueblos España
La Coordinadora de Organizaciones para el Desarrollo Spain
Asociación Cultural Brasileña Maloka España
UGT España
Permacultura ATTA España
Red Ecofeminista España
Entrepueblos/Entrepobles/Entrepobos/Herriarte Spain
Campanya Catalunya No als tractats de comerç i inversió España
Campaña estatal No a los Tratados de Comercio e Inversión Spain
Ecologistas en Acción Spain
Salva la Selva España
ECOAR))) Spain
Argentinos en España, UCM y ATTAC ESPAÑA
Colectivo Agar, Espacio de investigacion y Encuentro desde la diversidad España
Foro Pacifista Internacionalista de Ciudad Real Spain
ALBA España
OMAL EStado español
Amigos de la Tierra España
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL) Germany
Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel München Deutschland
Bündnis gerechter Welthandel Mannheim Deutschland
ÖDP Deutschland
KAB Deutschlands Germany
Stop-TTIP Kreis Miltenberg Deutschland
Christ*innen für den Sozialismus Deutschland
Kölner Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel Germany
Jugend im Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (BUNDjugend) Germany
Heidelberger Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel Germany
Pax Christi München Germany
BUND Hameln-Pyrmont Germany
Wuppertaler Aktionsbündnis Gerechter Welthandel Deutschland Miltenberg Deutschland
Attac Germany Germany
Heidelberger Bündnis für einen gerechten Welthandel Germany
KoBra Kooperation Brasilien e.V. Germany
Bürgerinitiative “aufRECHT:FREIdenken Mittelbaden” Deutschland, Baden-Württemberg
Oficina Ecuménica por la Paz y la Justicia Alemania
Netzwerk gerechter Welthandel Germany
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft Baden-Württemberg Germany
Gerechter Welthandel Germany
NaturFreunde Deutschlands Deutschland
Konstanzer Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel Germany / Deutschland
POEMA – Armut u. Umwelt in Amazonien Deutschland
Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren Deutschland
Berliner Wassertisch Germany
FDCL-Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America Germany
Stop-TTIP Kreis Miltenberg Deutschland
ILA Informationsstelle Lateinamerika e.V. Bonn Germany
Rettet den Regenwald Germany
POEMA e.V. Deutschland
Informationsstelle Peru Germany
Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND e.V) Germany
NABU e. V. Deutschland
PowerShift Germany
FUGEA Belgium
Mouvement d’Action Paysanne Belgium
Fern Belgium
Eurogroup for Animals Belgium
Corporate Europe Observatory Belgium
Entraide & Fraternité Belgique
Espirito Mundo Belgium
CNCD-11.11.11 Belgium
Rise for Climate Belgium Belgique
Institute of Socioeconomic Studies – Inesc Brasil
FASE – Solidariedade e Educação Brazil
Instituto Terramar Brasil
Articulação Agro é Fogo Brasil
Amigos da Terra Brasil Brasil
MST Brasil
Coalizão Negra por Direitos Brasil
Global Aktion Danmark
Animal Protection Denmark Denmark
Global Aktion Denmark
NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark Denmark
Parents For Future Wien Österreich
GLOBAL 2000 – Friends of the Earth Austria Austria
Anders Handeln Austria
Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund/Austrian Trade Union Österreich
Attac Austria Austria
Coordination office of the Austrian Bishop`s Conference Austria
Welthaus Graz Austria
Welthaus Diözese Graz-Seckau Austria
DKA Austria Austria
Climate Save Portugal Portugal
TROCA – Plataforma por um Comércio Internacional Justo Portugal
GAIA – Grupo de Accao e Intervencao Ambiental Portugal
Academia Cidadã Portugal
Climáximo Portugal
Palombar – Associação de Conservação da Natureza e do Património Rural Portugal
Ecomood Portugal Portugal
CIDAC – Centro de Intervenção para o Desenvolvimento Amílcar Cabral Portugal
Campo Aberto – associação de defesa do ambiente Portugal
ATBG Portugal
Opus Diversidades Portugal
ZERO – associação sistema terrestre sustentável Portugal
Stop TTIP Italy Italy
Fairwarch Italia
Fairwatch Italia
Transnational Institute (TNI) Netherlands
WILPF NL Nederland
FNV Netherlands
Handel Anders! Netherlands
Agriculture coalition for Just Trade The Netherlands
Both ENDS Netherlands
Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands Netherlands
Working group Food Justice The Netherlands
Platform Aarde Boer Consument The Netherlands
Centro de Estudios Heñói Paraguay
SOBREVIVENCIA, Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay Paraguay
ATTAC Hungary Hungary
Clean Air Action Group Hungary
ASTM Luxembourg
Fresh Eyes United Kingdom
Groupe d’Action Francophone pour l’Environnement GAFE Haïti Haïti
COECOCEIBA-Amigos de la Tierra CR Costa Rica
UDAPT Ecuador
CESTA AT El Salvador El Salvador, CA
REDES-AT (FoE) Uruguay Uruguay
Attac Norway Norway
Naturefriends Greece Greece
SEED: Strategies for Ethical and Environmental Development, Inc. United States
Zaustavimo TTIP Hrvatska

 source: S2B Network