- Posted by Rafael Moro
The Minister of Agriculture of Portugal, Maria do Céu Antunes, said on Monday (12) that the country has supported the Mercosur-European Union Agreement from the first moment, by participating in the Portugal-Brazil Seminar: Business Opportunities in the Agrifood Sector, in Lisbon, alongside Minister Tereza Cristina (Agriculture, Livestock and Supply). "We remain committed to the rapid implementation of this agreement," he said.
According to Maria do Céu Antunes, in addition to improving business between the bloc's countries, with greater predictability and transparency of rules, the agreement will allow sustainable development. "It will also allow, and for us this is very important, a commitment by all parties to the objectives of sustainable development, the protection of the environment and biodiversity and respect for labor and social rights", said the Portuguese minister.
Minister Tereza Cristina also defended the approval of the Mercosur-European Union agreement. She mentioned the gains for the two blocks, such as better economic conditions, quality of life for citizens, generation of jobs and income, strengthening of environmental preservation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. “It must be said that the agreement does not pose any threat to the environment, human health and social rights. On the contrary, it reinforces multilateral commitments and aggregates the best practices in the matter ”, he said.
Continues after the form
Tereza Cristina said she had Portugal's support for the agreement to move forward. “We therefore hope that the malicious voices that attack the agreement will not prevail over our mutual interest in promoting sustainable development. We count on the support of the Portuguese people so that our agreement takes effect as soon as possible ”.
Portugal's support for the rapid approval of the agreement between the two blocs was also highlighted by the Secretary of State for Internationalization of Portugal, Eurico Brilhante Dias. “Portugal has always stood out in the defense of this agreement, because we believe in the idea that international trade is positive, it is good, it builds bridges, it is an inducer of wealth creation and that, as our poet Fernando Pessoa would say, who wants peace , does the trade, ”said Dias.
The Portuguese secretary said that the Mercosur European Union Agreement is one of the most developed and has a more robust chapter with regard to sustainable development. “Therefore, it is not just an agreement of interest between the two parties. The advances made in this chapter are important and must be valued very positively within the framework of the agreement that was possible ”.
Minister Tereza Cristina highlighted data on the evolution of productivity and sustainability in Brazilian agriculture in recent years, among them that grain production has grown 425% since the 1970s, while the planted area increased only 43%. As a result, about 123.7 million hectares of Brazilian territory are no longer used by agricultural activity (land-saving effect).
In addition, Brazil uses only 30% of its territory for agriculture, maintaining more than 60% with native vegetation. “It is estimated that about 25% of the preserved area is on private property, something unparalleled in other countries in the world, as it is land that the owner does not receive to preserve. It is just a legal obligation, ”he said, adding that the Forest Code provides that 20% to 80% of the native vegetation on rural properties must be preserved, depending on the biome.
Pandemic and global challenge
Tereza Cristina also pointed out that Brazilian agriculture did not stop during the pandemic, guaranteeing internal supply and exports. “Since the beginning of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, our agriculture has guaranteed the continuity of internal supply and has also broken production records, maintained jobs and income and promoted growth in a moment of contraction in other sectors of the economy. In addition, we maintained supplies to other countries and expanded our exports in 2020 ”.
Between January and September 2020, Brazilian agribusiness exports totaled US $ 77.89 billion, which represented growth of 7.5% compared to the same period in 2019.
Minister Maria do Céu Antunes highlighted the global challenge of increasing food production by around 70% by 2050 to ensure adequate access to food. “This is a big responsibility for all of us. We need to produce more and for that, we have to invest in productivity growth and guarantee the sustainability of our planet and this is done essentially with innovation, with science and with and technology ”.
The administrator of Aicep Portugal Global, Madalena Oliveira e Silva, said that Portugal wants to increase exports to Brazil. In the first half of this year, exports from Portugal to Brazil fell by 1.2% compared to the same period last year, and imports increased by 92%.
“We want to increase our exports to Brazil, but we also don't want to stop importing from Brazil, on the contrary. We believe that through reinforcement, reciprocity and bilateralism in trade, it is built. It is not through the imposition of barriers, ”he said. Aicep is the Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade in Portugal.
In 2019, agricultural and food products represented 60% of the weight of Portuguese exports, equivalent to 453 million Euros and in the first half of 2020, the weight was 55% corresponding to 190 million. Regarding imports, growth was 17.5% in the first half.
The ambassador of Brazil to Portugal, Carlos Alberto Simas Magalhães, stressed the importance of the commercial relationship between the two countries and said that business in the agricultural sector between the two countries deserves a renewal.