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Austria deals a blow to EU-Mercosur trade pact

A free trade pact between the EU and four South American countries was thrown further into doubt on Wednesday after Austria's parliament rejected the agreement. When the Austrian lawmakers rejected an EU-Mercosur trade deal, it puts the fate of project in question. Mercosur is a South America free trade zone comprising Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. Several European states have raised concerns about the South American trade agreement and the environment.

Nearly all parties in the Austrian parliament's EU subcommittee voted against the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement. The government is obliged to follow the decision of the subcommittee at the EU level, where according to rules all 28 member states and their parliaments must agree to trade deals.

The trade agreement reached last June after almost a decade of negotiations was already put into doubt due to concerns over fires in the Amazon rainforest and the politics of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

France, Ireland and Luxembourg had already suggested the trade deal may be put on hold over environmental concerns in the Amazon.


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