Saturday 24 August 2019 / 11:11 PM Barry Gardiner / Climate Change

Post-Brexit trade deal with Brazil must not destroy the Amazon

Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner has today called on the government to guarantee that any future trade deal with Brazil in the event of a No Deal Brexit does not further contribute to the destruction of the Amazon.

Warning of the possibility of a future trade deal leading to more imports of Brazilian food produced in the areas of the rainforest being burned, Gardiner said ‘We cannot risk our planet to buy cheap beef.’

This comes in the wake of International Trade Minister Conor Burns posing for pictures and drinking champagne with Brazilian minister Marcos Troyjo in recent days and describing him as ‘superb’. Marcos Troyjo explicitly backed Bolsonaro’s policy of deforestation of the Amazon last week.

Fires in the Amazon rainforest have been linked to Brazilian farmers clearing space for cattle and crops, encouraged by the country’s far right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Reports by environmental groups have shown links between beef imported from Brazil and sold in UK supermarkets and deforestation in the Amazon.

The Amazon is a key carbon sink for the world’s carbon emissions and its destruction has a major impact on the global effort to tackle climate change. In addition the Amazon is home to an estimated 10% of the world’s species.

Barry Gardiner, Shadow International Trade Secretary, said:

“While the Amazon rainforest burns to clear space for cattle and crops, the Conservative government is cosying up to Brazil’s far right President Bolsonaro.

“Any post-Brexit trade deal with Brazil must guarantee that the UK is not further contributing to the destruction of the Amazon. We cannot risk our planet to buy cheap beef.

“The Amazon is our planet’s great shield against climate change and we are wilfully destroying it. The homes of indigenous people and millions of plant and animal species are under threat.

“Boris Johnson’s vision for Britain after No Deal Brexit seems to be that we sell off the NHS to Trump’s America, trash the Amazon with a deal with Bolsanaro and fuel war by selling arms to the Saudi dictatorship.”