Ambec Commission on the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement

In 2020, the Ambec Commission submitted a report to the French Prime Minister Jean Castex on the “provisions and potential effects of the trade part of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Mercosur on sustainable development.”

In the summer of 2019, the French government commissioned an independent expert commission chaired by environmental economist Stefan Ambec, research director in economics. This commission was tasked with analyzing all provisions of the draft agreement that could impact sustainable development, assessing the agreement's effect on greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, biodiversity, the diffusion of clean technologies, and the ecological transition of production methods, as well as the ability to ensure compliance, for all products consumed on the European market, with French environmental and health standards.

The Commission's report was submitted on September 18, 2020. It recommends to the French government the implementation of mirror measures or mirror clauses, similar to the Schubert Commission's recommendation regarding the free trade agreement with Canada (CETA) :

"Two solutions are available regarding reciprocity:

  1. The explicit mention of sanitary production conditions and animal welfare in the agreement (examples: absence of growth promoters and certain phytosanitary products, certain animal-origin proteins, animal welfare requirements, etc.).

  2. The systematic introduction of the reciprocity principle into European regulations, following the model of what exists in the new "veterinary medicines*" regulation.

Therefore, the present Commission recommends the generalization, based on the reciprocity principle, of the introduction of mirror measures in European regulations, and also to put an end to the import tolerance mechanism. In the meantime, it recommends renegotiating the Agreement if possible to introduce production conditions (sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, animal feed and animal welfare)."

See the full report of the Commission Ambec (in French)

* This is Article 118, which was supposed to be effective from January 28, 2022, but will not be until 2026. It "prohibits the importation of animals and animal products treated with veterinary products prohibited or fed with veterinary supplements whose use is prohibited in the EU, especially antibiotic growth promoters. This measure will require the establishment in third countries authorized to export to the EU of a separate chain that could intersect with the currently guaranteed 'hormone-free' chains, with ad hoc traceability." [Ambec Report]

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