France’s Macron wants to join a new, ‘trustworthy’ Mercosur

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday strongly rejected the proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the South American economic bloc Mercosur in its current state during a visit to Brazil.

“As it is, it is a very bad agreement. The agreement was negotiated 20 years ago. This is not what we want,” said Macron, speaking in São Paulo.

“Let’s talk about a new, more credible agreement that is aimed at our goals and the reality that takes development, climate and biodiversity,” added Macron.

The French leader is one of the strongest opponents of the deal in the EU.

At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in December, Macron criticized European farmers and companies for complying with requirements to reduce emissions, while products from South America that are not produced according to the same rules can enter. EU without tariffs.

“I cannot ask our farmers, our industries in France and everywhere in Europe to try to use the new laws to destroy the air … join those who do not use these laws,'” Macron said in a speech at COP28 in Dubai.

What France is doing is the opposite of what the German government is doing. At a meeting in Berlin in December, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva both pushed for an end to the deal negotiations.

The agreement between the EU and the Mercosur association – with its member countries Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – would create one of the largest free trade areas with more than 700 million people. Its main purpose is to reduce customs duties and thus promote trade.

The EU has been negotiating the agreement with Mercosur for 23 years. The agreement reached in 2019 has not been implemented due to ongoing concerns, including the protection of forests.

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