BERLIN, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Germany's engineering association VDMA on Wednesday urged European lawmakers to swiftly ratify a free trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc of South American countries despite concerns over Brazil's environmental record.
Brazil is under pressure from European countries over its environmental policies, in particular over a perceived failure to deal with an epidemic of forest fires in the Amazon basin. Mercosur's other members are Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
"It's better to remain in dialogue on the basis of a trade agreement than to leave (Brazil) to itself or push it into a partnership with China," VDMA trade expert Ulrich Ackermann said.
The faster the agreement is implemented, the sooner the EU can formally request a consultation on sustainability with Brazil on the basis of the treaty, Ackermann said.
"Rejecting the Mercosur Treaty would simply be symbolic policy. No tree will be saved in Brazil if the agreement is not ratified," Ackermann added. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber,)