The new Austrian government will not support the trade deal between the EU and South American nations.
The EU and the South American trade bloc Mercosur whose members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, concluded their trade deal in June, after 20 years of negotiations. However, the agreement is unpopular in farming areas in Austria, which fear that imports from the Mercosur will harm them.
The country’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’ new government, which is a coalition of Austria’s conservative People’s Party and the Green Party, toughened its position on the trade deal with Mercosur when it presented its program in which it said it seeks a “rejection of the Mercosur trade agreement in its current form”.
Austria’s parliament passed a motion in September for the government to veto ratification of the deal in the Council of the EU.
“We must not conclude any agreement if it is clear from the outset that the contracting parties will not comply with important elements and that there is no means for effective enforcement of the provisions of the agreement”, said Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament’s trade committee.
The government added that it will support an EU policy that works on trade agreements with a focus on environmental standards and standards for the protection of consumers.