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Global: We must not barter the Amazon rainforest for burgers and steaks

European leaders have thrown the Amazon rainforest under a Volkswagen bus in a massive cows-for-cars trade deal with Brazil and three other South American nations.

The EU-Mercosur agreement – the largest in Europe’s history, according to officials – will make it cheaper for Brazilian farmers to export agricultural products, particularly beef, despite growing evidence that cattle ranching is the primary driver of deforestation.

In return, European businesses get greater access to the markets of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, which will benefit producers of vehicles, chemicals, machinery, wine and cheese.

Negotiations took almost two decades, which may explain why the outcome signed last week reflects the pro-industry values of the past rather than the environmental concerns of the present.

Read more here.