EU-MERCOSUR trade agreement: potential impacts on rural livelihoods and gender (with focus on bio-fuels feedstock expansion)
The paper states that the positive outcomes expected from growth in the agriculture and forestry sectors are based on the estimated new employment that new large-scale investments could produce in some regions. However, the risks of negative impacts arise from structural factors that condition the access of poor rural populations to productive assets such as land and opportunities for labour-market-oriented education. In addition, the paper indicates that environmental and social sustainability is in jeopardy when the expansion of energy-driven industries becomes aggressive. Therefore, it deems that a focus on territorial planning, with a strong role played by the state at all levels, is essential.
The paper also highlights the importance of sequencing to improve the abilities of less advantaged groups to participate in trade-led processes of agricultural intensification or industrialisation. Furthermore, it finds that regulations recommended to produce enhancing measures can also produce drawbacks for a more inclusive model of a trade-based development strategy.
With the above intention, the adaptation of institutions to new regulatory systems fundamentally depends on domestic governance. Yet, it can benefit from flexible regulatory agreements elaborated at international level. This would allow Mercosur countries to sequentially adapt their domestic circumstances to international standards, without threatening the potential benefits of a trade agreement by imposing non-tariff restrictions.