“There have been no new negotiations since last year`s forest fire season in the Amazon. In all future negotiations on an investment chapter for a free trade agreement with Mercosur, Canada would reaffirm our right to regulate to achieve legitimate political objectives such as respect for indigenous peoples and environmental protection,” a spokeswoman for the office of Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, International Trade and Export Promotion, said in an email. “It`s a perfect storm where the regime is indifferent, or even supports intervention in this vital ecosystem to the point where experts think it`s at risk of collapse, but in a way it doesn`t matter in this environmental assessment,” Sinclair said. “If we reach an agreement with Mercosur… we would sanction (and) legitimize these practices. This favourable position is influenced by several factors, including the new open Argentine government, Brazil`s national export plan, the TPP negotiated between the major countries and Europe, which creates trade barriers for a possible free trade agreement with Mercosur. On the government side, the negotiations began with an exciting scenario of strengthening world trade, made possible by new free trade agreements. On Friday, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called on the Trudeau government to follow the example of countries like France and Ireland that refuse to support ratification of the European Union trade agreement with Mercosur because Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has failed to address international concerns about the global environmental impact of deforestation. Sinclair does not see why this lax approach to environmental and labour legislation would be different with this agreement, a concern reinforced by recent leaks of a similar agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and the Mercosur countries. On June 16, 1988, Canada attempted to enter into negotiations with Mercosur to develop regional and bilateral initiatives for an investment and trade agreement.

Other plans have not advanced. The office of International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr says Canada will continue trade negotiations with Mercosur, the South American trade bloc that also includes Brazil, despite calls to halt talks until further action is taken to protect the Amazon rainforest. “Our priority has always been… Environmental chapter within the framework of free trade agreements, and this would be the case for a possible future agreement with Mercosur. Instead, environmental degradation is framed as a technological problem that free trade between Canada and the Mercosur region could solve by “expanding farmers` access to new instruments (and) reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers as well as greenhouse gas emissions.” This is an unfounded assertion, he said, given Brazil`s current political, social and economic situation. Nor are they the only red flags she sees in the document. A federal environmental assessment of a proposed trade agreement between Canada and mercosur countries ignores serious environmental and human rights violations in Brazil, environmentalists say. “It is very likely that a trade agreement (Canada and the Mercosur countries) will negotiate if it contains something like what is contained in the CUSMA (the new NAFTA), which reduces domestic policy room to address environmental issues,” said Sharon Anglin Treat, senior attorney at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. In an emailed statement, the Office of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade told Mary Ng: “Our government is firmly committed to upholding the principle that free and progressive trade and environmental protection must support each other.