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ECONOMY | 10-07-2019 17:54

Macron has 'questions' about various aspects of EU-Mercosur deal

A spokesperson for the French government said that the French president still had lingering questions about “environmental” and “health” provisions as well as conditions regarding “sensitive sectors.”

French President Emmanuel Macron told his ministers Wednesday that he had “questions” about “environmental,” “health” and “sensitive sectors” conditions of the free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay), a government spokesperson said. 

The EU and Mercosur signed a free trade agreement on June 28, that had been negotiated for 20 years and will affect around 770 million consumers. 

“We have received the documents which allow us to detail the contents of the agreement,” spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye said Wednesday. “The president indicated that we have questions on three specific points” to which, France wants “extremely clear answers.” 

The most important topic is the “strength of the environmental conditions,” the spokesperson specified. 

“The conditions that are contained in the text that was communicated to us are not sufficiently robust, and we want to provide more robustness” to “respect the Paris climate accord within the framework of the Mercosur [deal],” she stated. 

Additionally, “We hope that, through this agreement, we will not only be able to assure ourselves of the respect of european health norms in its products but also in the process of production,” Ndiaye added. 

“The third topic about we have questions and which we want to be able to work on is sensitive sectors, like ox, sugar and poultry, which with the framework of the Mercosur [deal] could look altered or impacted,” she declared. 

According to her, the president wants to have “clarifications about the way the safeguard clauses we put in the trade agreement could be activated.”

“Trade agreements can be extremely positive for the french economy and we have had proof of that recently with Ceta,” an agreement between France and Canada.

The text of the agreement “has to be finalised in autumn by the negotiators and that timetable has to allow us to raise a certain number of concerns or questions,” she concluded. 

- TIMES/AFP

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