On Tuesday 05 June 2018, a Civil Society Dialogue (CSD) took place at the European Commission with the new team hired by DG Trade to carry out the Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) for EU trade negotiations with Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The team – Development Solutions, a Brussels-based consultancy – has already produced the inception reports, one for each country (here on Indonesia), the first step in this long process. Sustainability Impact Assessments have been widely criticized by civil society organisations as a window-dressing tool. Up to now, most have not been concluded before the negotiations they were linked to, which definitely contradicts their initial purpose. The timeline presented during the meeting with the contracted team indicated a willingness to accelerate the process as the final report should be delivered end of 2018, only in 7 months. This should allow for the SIAs to be completed before the end of negotiations, especially for Malaysia and the Philippines with who negotiations are not progressing at the moment.
You will find here Eurogroup for Animals’ briefing on the EU-Indonesia trade negotiations. In a nutshell, Indonesia, while it does not export much meat to the EU, is an important egg and poultry meat producer. In addition, according to officials, there is strong political willingness to develop Indonesia’s pig meat exports to other Asian countries. Having strong provisions on animal welfare cooperation in the future EU-Indonesia FTA is thus key to promote higher farm animal welfare standards in the country, and eventually secure concrete legislative progresses affecting around 2 billions of chickens and 200 millions of laying hens.
The analysis of the trade between the EU and Indonesia reveals also different issues that should be taken into account by the EU negotiators. Indonesia is the first source of frogs’ legs and this trade raises concerns in terms of the conservation of these amphibians. In the last decades, the trade in frogs’ legs has moved from India and Bangladesh to Indonesia and Viet Nam, with the former countries banning the exports of frogs’ legs mid 1980s following the depletion of the targeted species in their territories. Research should be carried and all precaution taken to avoid Indonesia ends up in a similar situation.
Indonesia is also an important source of EU live reptile and reptile skin imports. The demand for these products, the lack of knowledge and expertise in reptiles, as well as the criminal ways that exist to circumvent the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) all contribute to an increase in illegal trade of endangered reptile species. In addition, there are also animal welfare concerns related to these products, in connection with the handling and slaughtering of reptiles and amphibians as well as with the difficulties to care for them as pets, once they are sent to Europe.
Indonesia is home to a tremendous biodiversity. Several great and lesser apes, such as Orangutans and Gibbons, are seriously threatened by deforestation due to the proliferation of economic activities, such as palm oil, agricultural and mining exploitations. The impact of potentially stimulating these activities through a trade agreement on biodiversity must be studied carefully. The SIA should also consider the impact of intensive livestock productions – which is very detrimental to farm animal welfare – on the environment and the climate.
Eurogroup for Animals attended the meeting and seized the opportunity to present its views on what is at stake in the discussions with Indonesia. Eurogroup for Animals will meet with the contracted team to further explain the animal-related concerns and ensure they are considered in the final report. We will also see the Commission on these negotiations to voice our disappointment with the current level of ambitions of the EU’s proposals on animal welfare cooperation and on Trade and Sustainable Development.
Stephanie Ghislain, Trade and Animal Welfare – Project Leader
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