EU committee shelves climate concerns to open US trade talks

(Climate Change News, 20 Feb 2019) Amid US threats to slap import tariffs on European cars, the EU is wavering on its commitment to uphold the Paris Agreement through trade negotiations.

The EU is preparing to negotiate two trade agreements with the US, contrary to pledges to only strike deals with countries committed to the Paris Agreement.

A committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday endorsed opening talks. Adopted by 21 votes to 17, the resolution by the committee for international trade (INTA) empowers the European Commission to discuss two trade deals, respectively designed to lift tariffs and iron out bureaucratic hurdles between the two blocs. It goes to a full parliamentary vote in mid-March.

The move flies in the face of European moves to integrate trade and climate action. In July 2018, the European Parliament backed a non-binding resolution to “make ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement a condition for future trade agreements”.

The latest deals with Japan and Mexico made reference to the Paris Agreement. Trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström has asserted that the same applies to ongoing negotiations with South America’s Mercosur bloc.

Amid US threats to slap tariffs on European car imports, however, the committee overruled climate concerns to press ahead with US talks.

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Climate Change News, 20 Feb 2019: EU committee shelves climate concerns to open US trade talks