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4 July 2022

The undersigned civil society organisations, trade unions, human rights, animal welfare and environmental defenders, address this statement to policy makers in Mexico and the European Union (EU) to call on them not to ratify the “modernised” EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (EU-Mexico FTA). The text was negotiated behind closed doors, without debate or public consultation, and was finalised in April 2020, in the midst of one of the worst health, social and economic crises in the world, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU-Mexico FTA has been in force for twenty years and, far from fulfilling its promises, it has only generated serious social, economic and environmental harm, first and foremost for Mexico. The “modernised” agreement will only deepen those problems for the following reasons:

1. The agreement only protects foreign investors and jeopardises urgent changes in favour of climate, environment and people

The new agreement will have a new chapter on investment that aims to consolidate the use of international arbitration as a mechanism for resolving disputes between investors and states. Worryingly, the proposed Investment Court System (ICS) does not address the worst parts of the classic investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This means that EU investors will be able to sue Mexico (and Mexican investors will also be able to sue EU member States) in a parallel justice system that prioritises their private interests, while environmental, social and general regulations take a back seat. In recent years, many of these lawsuits have been initiated by transnational investors to attack environmental measures and legislation. For example, in 2010-2013 the Spanish transnational Abengoa COFIDES sued Mexico after refusing to comply with environmental regulations, and obtained US$ 48 million in “compensation and lost profits”. With Mexico’s recent reforms on electricity and lithium mining, confirmed by the Supreme Court of Justice, some European transnational corporations, including Iberdrola, have already threatened Mexico with ISDS claims. European countries have also received several such lawsuits over climate policies, such as that by German energy giant RWE against the Netherlands over plans to phase out coal by 2030. Signing the EU-Mexico FTA will lead to more such lawsuits on both sides of the Atlantic, compromising national budgets and delaying necessary changes in favour of climate, environment and welfare of people and animals.

2. The agreement will allow European corporations to continue violating human rights in Mexico with impunity

European companies have a long history of violating human and environmental rights in Mexico with almost total impunity. This will be reinforced with the modernised EU-Mexico FTA, as it still fails to provide effective regulatory mechanisms. Some examples of this situation can be found in:

  • tariff abuses and the violation of the right of access to electricity, in the context of monopoly control by Iberdrola, Naturgy, Acciona Energía, Fisterra;

  • the violation of the right to water, and the arbitrary tariffs of Agsal-Suez (now Veolia) in Coahuila, Veracruz, Mexico City and Cancún. In the cases of the water bottling companies, Bonafont/Danone which are accountable for dispossession and devastation in the Choluteca Zone, where the resistance of the United Peoples is being criminalised and repressed.

The new treaty will also deepen the impunity of European corporations involved in the construction of large-scale projects with serious socio-environmental impacts on the territory, such as the Morelos Integral Project (PIM), the mega wind farms, the Interoceanic Corridor in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, or the Mayan Train, among others. In these cases, either the right to prior, free, informed and culturally appropriate consultation and consent or refusal has been directly violated, or the implementation, which does not adhere to international standards, is generating major divisions and conflicts between communities. The “modernised” EU-Mexico FTA does not include binding clauses that oblige these corporations to respect human rights, nor does it grant affected people effective mechanisms for access to justice, reparations and non-repetition. The human rights clause in the EU-Mexico Global Agreement (contained also in the “modernised EU-Mexico Global Agreement) has never been activated in the case of Mexico, despite proposals to this end by civil society organisations and in the European Parliament itself.

3. The agreement does not allow for progress on women’s rights and gender equality

The modernised EU-Mexico FTA reinforces patriarchal patterns entrenched in Mexican and European societies. The treaty does not provide for any mechanism to end discrimination against women and LGBTIQ people, nor does it include inclusive “gender” language. In this sense, the agreement does not talk about the need to modernise and question male and female roles and their different social tasks. Furthermore, the few explicit clauses on women that existed in the old version of the treaty have been removed, namely Art. 36 mentioning low-income women and Art. 37 on the role of women in productive processes. The promotion of equal opportunities is now only mentioned when referring to ILO-approved labour standards, without mechanisms that can be monitored. The different chapters of the treaty will affect the majority of women, especially the most marginalised ones, twofold. As workers, farmers or entrepreneurs, they risk being pushed out of the market by unequal competition from European corporations, especially in the dairy and meat industries. On the other hand, the extended public procurement chapter as well as the intellectual property protection chapter promote an economic model that undermines public services such as healthcare and access to affordable medicines. The predictable precariousness caused by fostering the extraction of raw materials of the economic model will only reinforce a patriarchal model that will increase the already countless victims of gender-based violence.

4. The agreement attacks peasant agriculture and erodes food sovereignty

Free trade agreements such as the EU-Mexico FTA are directly linked to the global agro-industrial system, which has a devastating impact on the right to independent agriculture and trade, the right to food and health, while being one of the main causes of the climate crisis. In this context, the results are: an attack on peasant agriculture by privatising seeds, spurring land grabbing and migration; incentivizing the model of monocultures based on export crops and low-wage and even slave labour and totally dependent on large amounts of GMOs, agrochemicals, energy and water. It is a model based on large-scale farms which have been at the origin of pandemics such as the A/H1N1 flu. Mexican and European agribusiness corporations will benefit from this model boosted by the EU-Mexico FTA. Currently, German transnational corporations as Bayer-Monsanto continue to import GMOs and agrochemicals, principal among them glyphosate, which is known to cause terrible diseases, among them cancer. On the other hand, the European Union is pressuring Mexico to sign the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants from 1991 (UPOV91). The mere acceptance of the entire UPOV system, in any of its versions, legitimises the privatisation of seeds and is a direct attack on independent peasant agriculture, i.e. on the pillar of food sovereignty. Farmers in Europe will also be affected by the increase in imports from Mexico.

5. The agreement impedes progress towards a more sustainable, decentralised and democratic energy system

The incorporation of a chapter on energy in the EU-Mexico FTA seeks to shield the privatisation of the sector, which was consolidated with the 2013 constitutional energy reform. This privatisation has had direct impacts on the population, such as higher electricity prices.  It has also consolidated the model of large-scale projects (both PPPs and private initiatives) for electricity generation, leading to the privatisation of communal lands, repression and aggression against affected populations, environmental impacts and corruption. Many European, and in particular Spanish, energy transnational corporations have interests in Mexico and are the main promoters of this treaty. Some of those include Ibedrola, Naturgy and Acciona (Spain), Enel (Italy) and Engie (France).

6. Public procurement and public services at risk

The “modernised” EU-Mexico FTA opens up important parts of Mexico´s public procurement market for the first time to European corporations. This means that private interests will be put ahead of public interests, based on the assumption that what is good for investors is good for society. Such an assumption ignores the impacts of corporate interests on the polarisation of income and wealth, environmental deterioration and social degradation, and the commodification of culture and history. It also affects business development itself, to the detriment of micro and small producers and to the benefit of large transnational capital, both European and Mexican. Finally, it damages bi-continental social and solidarity practices, to the benefit of capital, which has no allegiances. Development, both European and Mexican, must prioritise the legitimate conditions and aspirations of societies and not profit.

In conclusion, Mexico has become one of the world’s leading industrial paradises, that is, one of the most advanced laboratories for free trade and deregulation. The result has been unprecedented economic, social and environmental devastation, and a multiplicity of “sacrifice zones” or “environmental hellscapes”, which continue to claim thousands of lives every year.  It should not be forgotten that many of these companies are also those responsible for decades of privatisation and plunder of the public sector in Europe, jeopardising fundamental rights such as the right to housing, the right to food, the right to water and the right to energy.  

The EU-Mexico FTA is the triumph of European and Mexican transnational capital at the expense of the living conditions of the populations and environment on both sides of the Atlantic.

Based on the above, we are concerned that the context of the war in Europe is being used as an excuse to accelerate the ratification of the agreement, with serious implications for people in Mexico and the EU. For the future to be viable and sustainable, a trade policy model of the 21st century must put the well-being of communities, peoples and the environment first.

Therefore, European, Mexican, regional and international civil society organisations say NO to the EU-Mexico trade and investment agreement! And we demand our political leaders to oppose its ratification.

Sign the statement here


1. Agriculture coalition for Just Trade

2. Aitec

3. Alianza Sierra Madre A.C.

4. Alofa Tuvalu

5. alterNativa intercanvi amb pobles indígenes

6. Aluna Minga e.V.

7. Amis de la Terre France / Friends of the Earth France

8. Anders Handeln

9. Asamblea de Defensores del Territorio Maya Múuch’ Xíinbal

10. Asamblea de pueblos indígenas del istmo en defensa de la tierra y el territorio

11. Asociación de Investigación y Especialización sobre Temas Iberoamericanos

12. Asociación por la Paz y los Derechos Humanos Taula per Mêxic

13. Assemblea de Solidaritat amb Mèxic

14. Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany

15. attac

16. Attac Austria


18. Attac France

19. Attac Freiburg

20. Ayotzinapa por los derechos humanos en Mexico, Suecia

21. Berliner Wassertisch

22. Bizilur

23. Both ENDS


25. CADTM France

26. Caminando por la justicia Atitalaquia

27. Campanya Catalunya No als TCI

28. Cátedra Jorge Alonso

29. CCFD-Terre Solidaire

30. Centro de derechos humanos de los pueblos del Sur de Veracruz Bety Cariño A.C.

31. Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano

32. Centro de Información sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos

33. Centro de Promoción y Educación Profesional “Vasco de Quiroga”

34. Centro Fray Julian Garcés Derechos Humanos y Desarrollo Local A.C.


36. CETRI – Centre tricontinental

37. CICrA Justicia Ambiental

38. CNCD-11.11.11

39. Colectivo Azul

40. Colectivo Comunitario de mejoramiento barrial

41. Colectivo por la Autonomía

42. Colectivo Raíz de Aguascalientes AC

43. Colectivo Xa’aybej

44. Collectif Alerte France Brésil / MD18

45. collectif Stop CETA-Mercosur

46. Comité de Derechos Humanos de la Sierra Norte de Veracruz

47. Comite de solidaridad con los Pueblos Indigenas de las Americas (CSIA-Nitassinan)

48. Comité pour l’abolition des dettes illégitimes (CADTM) réseau mondial

49. Comunar AC

50. Confederation paysanne

51.Consejo Mexicano de Bienestar Social A.C.

52. Consultoría Técnica Comunitaria, A. C.

53. Convocados por lúdica

54. CooperAccio

55. Coordinadora Socialista Revolucionaria (CSR)

56. CRID


58. Desmi

59. EcoAgriDev

60. Ecologistas en Acción

61. Ekologistak Martxan Euskal Herria

62. Enginyeria sense Fronteres

63. Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación A.C.

64. Entrepueblos-Entrepobles-Entrepobos-Herriarte

65. Espacio Estatal en Defensa del Maíz Nativo de Oaxaca

66. ETCO

67. Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF)

68. European Coordination Via Campesina

69. Fairwatch

70. FDCL – Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.V.

71. Feria del Dulce

72. Fondation Danielle Mitterrand

73. France Amérique Latine (FAL)

74. France Nature Environnement

75. FSU

76. Fundacion Para el Desarrollo Integral Apaxco

77.. GADIP. Gender and Development in Practice, Sweden

78. Gender Alliance for Development Centre

79. Générations Futures


81. Grupo de Agricultura Orgánica de La Ciénega

82. Grupo de Estudios Ambientales (GEA)

83. Grupo ETC

84. ila e.V., Bonn

85. IM Swedish development partner

86. Informationsbüro Nicaragua e.V.

87. Iniciativas para el Desarrollo de la Mujer Oaxaqueña (IDEMO)

88. Initiative Mexiko

89. Instituto Austríaco para América Latina

90. Kölner Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel

91. LAB Sindikatua

92. – Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global

93. Les Amis du Monde Diplomatique

94. Libertad

95. Ligue des droits de l’Homme – LDH

96. Lurgatz Talde Feminista

97. Mixteco yosonuvico de sonora cerro nublado A. C.

98. NaturFreunde Deutschlands

99. Netzwerk gerechter Welthandel

100. North South Forum Munich – for a world in solidarity e.V.

101. Novact – Instituto Internacional para la Acción Noviolenta

102. Observatori DESC

103. Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina (OMAL)

104. Oficina Ecuménica por la Paz y la Justicia e.V.

105. Organización Familia Pasta de Conchos

106. Otros Mundos AC/Chiapas

107. Partner Suedmexikos e.V.

108. Peace Brigades International

109. Permacultura ATTA

110. Plataforma América Latina mejor sin TLC

111. Platform Aarde Boer Consument

112. PODER

113. PowerShift

114. Proceso de articulación de la sierra de santa Marta

115. Procesos Integrales para la Autogestión de los Pueblos

116. Promotora por la Suspensión del Pago de la Deuda Pública (México) miembro de la Red mundial Cadtm)

117. Proyecto sobre Organización, Desarrollo, Educación e Investigación (PODER)

118. R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales

119. REAS Euskadi

120. Red en Defensa del Maíz

121. Red europea de Comités Oscar Romero (SICSAL-Europa)

122. Red Mayense de Guardianas y Guardianes de Semillas

123. Reds – Red de solidaridad para la transformación social

124. SAS Germany

125. Seattle to Brussels Network/European Trade Justice Coalition

126. SETEM Catalunya

127. Sindicato de artistas Populares del Ecuador

128. Solidarios de la Voz del Amate

129. STEILAS Sindikatua

130. The Oakland Institute

131. Tierra y Libertad para Arauco – Wallmapu

132. TNI

133. UAED – UAZ

134. Un Salto de Vida


136. Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo de Tehuantepec

137. Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez Oaxaca, S. C.

138. Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit.

139. Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas

140. Université de Genève

141. Uno de Siete Migrando AC


143. Védegylet Egyesület / Protect the Future Association

144. Women In Development Europe+ (WIDE+)

145. Working group Food Justice

146. WUNRN-Women’s UN Report Network

147. Wuppertaler Aktionsbündnis Gerechter Welthandel

148. ZEB de la Iglesia luterana de Württemberg/Stuttgart