In January 2020, my Department, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, commissioned independent consultancy firm, Implement Consulting, to undertake an Economic and Sustainability Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the EU-Mercosur Agreement following a competitive tender process.
The ESIA will consist of two equally important and complementary components, namely a comprehensive analysis of the potential economic benefits as well as a robust sustainability impact assessment (including social, human rights and environmental impacts) that the trade Agreement could have in Ireland and the Mercosur countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Similarly, a wide-ranging consultation process will ensure the engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the conduct of the Impact Assessment.
In line with commitments in the Programme for Government, the ESIA is designed to assist Government in formulating our position on future ratification of the Agreement and the Impact Assessment is being overseen by my Department in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Government is to have the ESIA available to us to assist our decision-making on the Agreement ahead of the European Commission presenting the Member States with the legally-proofed texts of the Agreement.
Finally, in relation to climate and this Agreement, I have indicated that enforceable guarantees, which strengthen environmental protections, particularly with regard to the Amazon rainforest and climate action, are a priority for me in assessing Ireland's position in due course.