EU free trade deal with Mexico (started at same time as Brexit) is AGREED – Express.co.uk

Politicians, scientists, environmentalist and campaigners say the deal struck between EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan and the Mexican Minister for Economic Affairs Graciela Mrquez Coln yesterday will trigger human rights abuses and crimes against the environment. A collective of so-called civil society European organisations which took part in the so-called Toxi Tour in Mexico demand the trade deal is scrapped. The group undertook a high-profile so-called Toxi Tour of Mexico just before Christmas touring some of the nations most polluted areas to raise awareness about environmental problems and denounce companies they blamed for causing them.

On paper the deal includes measures to fight corruption and money laundering as well as investment protection, sustainable development in line with the Paris climate accord and simpler customs rules to boost exports.

But Latin-America news site Amerika21 said though the trade agreement was supposed to cover areas of human rights and the environment it actually gave more power to big business to side-step government regulations.

They added the civic society group also felt all political energies in Mexico should be focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The paper wrote: The updated trade agreement could lay the foundation for further human rights violations by European companies in Mexico.

Although it fundamentally includes the protection of human rights, while the protection of investments is characterised by the application of binding standards, the EU has always pursued a non-binding "soft law" policy with regard to human rights.

Civil society organisations believe that changing this approach is long overdue.

The new trade agreement between the European Union and Mexico should not be ratified or signed. In doing so, they are joining the global demand that the only commercial priority at the moment must be to remove obstacles to access to medical care and other resources, to strengthen public health systems and other social measures to deal with the current crisis.

But Mr Hogan said: While most of our efforts have been focused lately on tackling the coronavirus crisis, we have also been working to advance our open and fair trade agenda, which continues to be very important.

Openness, partnerships and co-operation will be even more essential as we rebuild our economies after this pandemic. I am very pleased, therefore, that together with our Mexican partners, we share similar views and that our continued work could now come to fruition.

"Todays agreement is clear evidence of our shared commitment to advance our agenda of partnership and co-operation. This agreement once in force will help both the EU and Mexico to support our respective economies and boost employment.

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The free trade contract will also trigger the interest of Brexiteers as the contract is intended to enable duty-free trade of goods between the EU and Mexico and is part of the global agreement that entered into force in 2000. In addition to political cooperation, development cooperation and human rights are also covered.

Some commentators have pointed out this is largely what Britain is asking for in the Brexit deal.

The biggest complaint from the Toxi Tour critics is it would be the first trade agreement between the EU and a Latin American country to include investment protection clauses.

Amerika21 wrote: This would strengthen the ability of transnational corporations to assert themselves against governments in both Europe and Mexico.2

The Toxi tour through Mexican industrial areas in December 2019 showed the downside of the increase in the number of multinational companies based in Mexico due to free trade agreements.

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EU free trade deal with Mexico (started at same time as Brexit) is AGREED - Express.co.uk

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