Eurogroup for Animals teamed up with three other NGOs, Transport & Environment, Fern and Humane Society International Europe, to launch a new study comparing the provisions included by the EU and its partners in five different Free Trade Agreements.

The study, titled “Trade and Sustainable Development”, reviewed the following FTAs: EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), EU-Singapore FTA (ESFTA), Vietnam-EU FTA (VEFTA), Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA) and the recently concluded modernization of the EU-Mexico Global Agreement (EMGA). The review focussed on biodiversity, climate change, fisheries and aquaculture, forests, labour rights and enforcement.

Representatives of the NGOs, among which Eurogroup for Animals’ Trade and Animal Welfare Project Leader Stephanie Ghislain, presented the study to the chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, Bernd Lange. Last year, the MEP, a German member of the ‘Socialists and Democrats’ group, had also presented critical views on the enforcement of Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters, but mainly focusing on labour provisions. Until now, most of the discussions on the TSD chapters in the European Parliament have revolved around labour rights, leaving aside animal and environment-related articles.

According to Stephanie Ghislain, Trade & Animal Welfare project leader, TSD provisions in EU FTAs remain aspirational and there is no clear trend of improvement. For instance, contrary to several previously concluded agreements, the agreement with Japan does not include cooperation on biodiversity-related topics in the list of what the parties shall do, only the exchange of information on the topic, and does not include specific wording on promoting the inclusion of species to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).