Latin America Gathers in Brazil to Oppose Free Trade Agreements

The cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, BrasÀ­lia and Belo Horizonte will be the
settings for demonstations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, as well
as the Mercosur-EU trade agreement, on October 14. Representatives of NGOs from
all over Latin America will converge on those cities to express their
opposition.

According to Rosilene Wonsetto, who coordinates a Brazilian campaign against FTAA (Campanha Brasileira Contra a Alca), trade agreements should provide family farms with benefits. She also complains that the biggest economic distortions between developed and developing nations are exactly in the farm sector.

“The agreement (FTAA) will only benefit American farmers. Few Brazilian farmers will be able to take advantage of the agreement,” says Wonsetto, pointing out that US farm subsidies make their exports cheaper.

As for the EU, Wonsetto is emphatic in denouncing the secrecy surrounding the talks; secrecy she says the Europeans have demanded. “We are not even certain of when they [Mercosur and the EU] will be talking. Should be between October 20 and 24,” she says.

Another member of the campaign, who belongs to the Jubileu Sul group, Rodrigo Vieira, says that Latin American governments should work for integration in order to improve quality of life for their populations. He says it is an error to emphasize farm produce over manufactured goods. “The result is we sell products with a low aggregate value. They (US and EU) sell more expensive items. That is why there is such a pronounced disparity.”

Fatima Mello, of the Brazilian Network for Peoples Integration (Reprip), seconds Vieira’s concern with the emphasis on farm goods. She says Brazil is handing over strategic sectors [to foreigners] by concentrating on raw material exports.

Although the FTAA has been a favorite target, Paulo Maldos, of the Sedes Sapientiae Institute (Cepis), says that “It is no good to barricade FTAA on one side and lower our guard on the other and let the Mercosur-EU negotiations move ahead unhindered.” He points out that while FTAA talks are stalled because of the US elections, negotiations with the EU are moving full steam ahead.

Data from the Continental Social Alliance (Alianza Social Continental) show that throughout Latin America it is the small producer and farmer who is losing ground, jobs and income. In Argentina, soybeans have replaced dairy goods as the top farm good. In Uruguay, timber plantations (where timber for exportation is being grown) are replacing traditional farms.

Agência Brasil
Translator: Allen Bennett

Tags:

You May Also Like

Brazilians Spent Close to US$ 1 Billion Overseas in June, the Best Since the Crisis

Brazilians spent a total of US$ 987 million in June this year on international ...

On Honduras Brazil and US Want Micheletti to Resign and Zelaya to Be Free to Go

Brazil and the United States seem to agree that ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya ...

Brazil Breaks Territory into ‘Little Countries’ to Avoid Spread of Chicken Disease

Beginning in 2006, poultry production in Brazil is expected to adopt the model used ...

Call for Papers: Brazil Has US$ 13 Million for AIDS and STD Research

Brazil’s Ministry of Health and the UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization) ...

Brazil’s Petrobras Vows to Keep Expanding and Spending Throughout the Continent

Brazilian government controlled oil and gas multinational Petrobras begins seismic surveying offshore Uruguay in ...

Brazil Wants US to Return Indian Blood Taken 40 Years Ago

Brazilian government lawyers and prosecutors (Ministério Público Federal) (MPF) are investigating the whereabouts of ...

Furtado Left Brazil Moral Orphan

When an intellectual dies, we remain his or her disciples, when a political leader ...

A Brazilian Water-Sports Brand Gets a Place Under Global Sun

Mormaii, the main Brazilian neoprene surf clothes and water-sports brand, sells it products in ...

Drought, Frost and Old Fields Cut Brazil’s Sugarcane Harvest by 6%

Brazil’s sugarcane grower association União da Indústria da Cana-de-Açúcar (Única) has lowered its estimate ...

Brazilian exports

For the First Time in 2007 Brazil Exports Outperform Imports

Brazilian exports last week totaled US$ 3.038 billion, a 4% increase compared with sales ...