Caobisco joins European organisations calling on EU to agree major Mercosur trade deal

Caobisco, the European chocolate, biscuits and confectionery sector organisation, has joined a total of 22 industry associations in calling on the EU and the South American Mercosur nations to conclude the long-running trade negotiations to unlock perceived major mutual economic benefits, reports Neill Barston.

The Brussels-based trade group, which is set to return as part of our World Confectionery Conference in September, has issued a plea to the region’s leaders to push through the much-awaited deal with the bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay Uruguay and Bolivia.

As observers have noted, the free trade agreement has been designed to ease the flow of trade between selected nations, reducing existing tariffs on a wide range of goods including food, and other staple goods, which has seen negotiations continue for the past two decades. While economic benefits have been lauded by those behind the project, some level of concern has remained as to whether environmental and social legislation protections may be weakened as a result of trying to align policies across distant locations around the world.

However, in their joint address, the group of trade organisations asserted that environmental issues such as deforestation would in fact receive greater legislative scrutiny as part of any trade agreements, with the EU presently creating its due diligence laws that are set to come into effect at the end of this year, which aim to bring protections for supply chain communities including within the cocoa trade.

in the joint letter sent to EU presidents, Caobisco joined over 20 industry groups including CIUS, Cecimo European association of manufacturing technologies, the European sugar users group, ACEA European automobile manufacturers association, and the Brewers of Europe, in welcoming the positive aspects of a mutual trade deal between major geographical areas.

The letter read: “Having the EU-Mercosur agreement in place will boost the integration of our economies and help to diversify our value chains both for imports and exports. This is key for the competitiveness of our export-oriented sectors that create tens of millions of jobs in Europe and provide an essential contribution to the prosperity and standards of living of European citizens. It also helps to promote the EU’s open strategic autonomy in times of rising economic security concerns by partnering with like-minded countries.

“The agreement offers Europe a unique and timely chance to seize its first-mover advantage to partner up with one of the world’s largest economies. A deal helps to significantly reduce both high tariff and non-tariff barriers that negatively affect European companies’ chances to compete on Mercosur’s relatively closed market with over 270 million consumers. It is important to recognise the huge opportunities the agreement offers, which will help maintaining a strong industrial structure in the EU, including in rural areas, and thereby to safeguard the jobs and well-being of millions of European citizens.

“Given that the EU lacks substantial reserves of key raw materials necessary for the green and digital transition and the fact that a substantial proportion of global growth is expected to come from outside of the EU in the next decade, our industries need open export markets to sell European goods and services and procure raw materials at a competitive prices. The agreement is therefore an economic, social, and geopolitical imperative.”

The letter concluded that its signatories understood the requirement to protect ‘the unique ecosystems of the Mercosur region,’ but believed that the framework of the agreement would bring some notably strong collaborations on a global scale.

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