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Brazilian Companies Illegally Degrading the Amazon Continue to Operate With Impunity

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A deforested region of the Amazon.

Brazil-based exporters of commodities fined for Amazon illegal logging and deforestation freely trade with, and receive financing from, major importers and investors worldwide, according to a report released in April by non-governmental organization Amazon Watch and produced in collaboration with the National Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, the Brazilian coordinating organization for the country’s indigenous groups.

Although producers of soy, cattle, timber, and other commodities were charged with environmental crimes in the Amazon, their products continue to flow into international markets, especially the country’s three largest trading partners: China, the European Union, and the United States, the report said. The E.U., for example, gets 41 percent of its beef imports from Brazil, while cattle ranching remains the leading cause of Amazon deforestation.

“We are all buying products that are destroying the forests illegally,” said Christian Poirier, program director at Amazon Watch. “This research demonstrates how global markets sustain the worst actors in Brazil’s agro-industrial sector.” The wider Amazon saw 5,019 square miles of forest loss in 2018, while Brazil itself saw a major uptick in deforestation last year during the campaign of rightest presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, the election’s winner.

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