EU-Vietnam Trade negotiations: EP must go beyond the current position of EU negotiators
Posted on 21/01/2014
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the mention of farm animal and wild animal welfare in the draft Resolution discussed today at the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament. This has been made possible thanks to the actions of Eurogroup for Animals in raising awareness on the need for cooperation between the EU and Vietnam on the welfare of farm animals and wildlife.
A fact-finding mission to Vietnam in 2013 was organised by Eurogroup in order to assess the situation in the country and to identify areas for improvement related to trade with Vietnam. A number of meetings took place with a large number of stakeholders and the results which should be of interest to the negotiators are published today in our report of the mission which can be downloaded here.
Our findings show that local farmers are more and more controlled by international firms, for example from China and the US, while the sector lacks any concrete animal welfare standards. More specifically, small and medium farmers are trying to reorient their production toward more remunerative markets by increasing quality including the development of animal welfare standards. Improvements are still to be made, particularly in the areas of housing, transport of live animals and slaughter.
Regarding wildlife, Vietnam is one of the most diversity-rich countries in the world. However, it suffers firstly from the legal and illegal wildlife trade, secondly from habitat loss caused by the development of agriculture and aquaculture, and thirdly from the country’s failure to enforce Vietnamese legislation despite the development of good policies. Populations of species such as bears, elephants, fresh water turtles, pangolin primates, rhinoceros and tigers have been dramatically reduced or even disappeared as a consequence.
“The Members of the European Parliament need to look beyond the current state of trade negotiations. For farm animals, the Parliament needs to clearly mention them in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary chapter of the Free Trade Agreement, as this is the only way to enforce such provision. This will, in the long-term, help small and medium farmers to get access to financially sustainable markets,” stated Cédric Cabanne, Policy Officer – International Trade at Eurogroup for Animals.
“Regarding wildlife, the Parliament needs to clearly mention the CITES Convention in the Sustainable Development chapter of the Agreement to ensure a good cooperation on the enforcement of the Multilateral Environment Agreement takes place,” he added.
The European Parliament must also propose that the Multilateral Trade Assistance Project (MUTRAP) –which has been developed in Vietnam since 1997 - is used to facilitate the approximation to EU standards on animal welfare in all future projects developed by Vietnamese farmers. In the same spirit, MUTRAP should be broadened to include projects which aim to improve wildlife conservation.
“With this Resolution, the European Parliament has the opportunity to make the difference as the monitoring MEPs can encourage and push the EU negotiators to make improvements to the current version of the Free Trade Agreement being negotiated with Vietnam. The European Commission, acting as negotiators, should not put the new generation of free trade agreements at stake, especially after those already negotiated with Chile and Korea which clearly include provisions on animal welfare,” stated Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals.
“Indeed the European Parliament needs to encourage and boost the efforts made by EU negotiators to facilitate the acknowledgment of farm animal and wildlife welfare by Vietnam” she concluded.