In a speech in Paris on Thursday, Chancellor Mauro Vieira warned rich countries that Brazil was concerned about using the environmental argument to justify trade barriers.
The intervention took place before ministerial delegations from countries such as Australia, Canada, Chile, the European Union, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Norway and others. Known as the Ottawa Group, the meeting aims to find ways to restore the WTO (World Trade Organization), which was paralyzed by American action to dismantle the international regulatory system.
The message from the head of Brazilian diplomacy was clear:
Brazil is very concerned about the global rise in protectionism and the use of sustainability concerns as a cover for protectionist measures.
Recently, the European Parliament passed rules increasing trade barriers for products originating from recently deforested areas.
In the negotiations between Mercosur and Europa, Brussels tabled a proposal that would link the trade deal to Brazil’s environmental commitments that would go beyond the Paris Agreement or other international instruments.
According to the Itamaraty, the “punishment” route should not be taken to deal with this phenomenon, and emerging economies fear the environmental issue will become a new way for rich countries to keep their agricultural markets closed to outside competition.
One way out, according to Vieira, is to guarantee that trade rules will be debated again.
“As a developing country, Brazil would like to see a strengthened and modernized WTO that includes development issues and the perspective of sustainable development in its agenda, without neglecting traditional issues such as agriculture,” he defended.
Another appeal from the Brazilian minister was to get the WTO courts back into operation, a mechanism considered essential to ensure rules are respected and violators are punished.
“We all know the importance of the dispute settlement system as one of the three pillars and reasons for the existence of the WTO,” said the Chancellor. “Brazil prefers a system that produces truly binding decisions made by an impartial and professional panel of judges within a twotier structure,” he defended.
Since Donald Trump’s administration, US authorities have vetoed the appointment of judges to the WTO courts. The gesture led to paralysis of the organ. However, the surprise of the international community came with Joe Biden. Even the new American President has not lifted the veto and the bodies responsible for monitoring the trade rules remain closed.