EU-Mexico trade deal prompts French farming backlash

This new agreement notably foresees "opening the European market to 20,000 tons of Mexican beef [...] which were, until now, banned in Europe for health reasons," according to Interbev, France's interprofessional meat association. [Shutterstock]

The European Union signed a free trade agreement with Mexico on Tuesday (28 April), provoking strong reactions. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports.

While the world is busy dealing with the coronavirus health crisis, the European Union and Mexico concluded talks on a new trade pact which have been running since 2016.

“The fight we are waging is mobilising all our energy, but we have also advanced our agenda for open and fair trade, which has lost none of its importance,” said Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan.

EU, Mexico reach 'agreement in principle' on free trade deal

The EU and Mexico said Saturday (21 April) they had reached an “agreement in principle” to modernise an existing free trade deal, as the Latin American country faces pressure from protectionist measures threatened by US President Donald Trump.

Yet many have already reacted strongly against the EU’s move.

This agreement will exempt almost all trade in goods between the European Union and Mexico from customs duties. Previous European free trade agreements, such as the EU-Canada free trade agreement (CETA) and Mercosur have already left their mark on French farmers.

This new agreement foresees “opening the European market to 20,000 tons of Mexican beef […] which were, until now, banned in Europe for health reasons,” according to Interbev, France’s interprofessional meat association. The country’s farmer’s confederation called this “a scandal”, saying it would “put farmers around the world in competition with each other.”

Food sovereignty in the “next world”.

Since the pandemic started, calls for strengthening food sovereignty and relocations into the “next world” have followed one another.

“These free trade agreements worthy of the previous world need to stop. The time has come to save lives, not to destroy them”, said French leftist MEP Leïla Chaibi, who is part of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left.

The European Commission will submit the text to the Council and European Parliament for adoption.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been saying for several weeks that “delegating our food to others would be madness”, has been asked to take concrete action.

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