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Independent.ie

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Beef sector can no longer be the ‘sweetener’ for trade deals – Minister Creed

Published 15/11/2016 | 17:15

“The more beef we import the more downward pressure there is on producer prices.”
“The more beef we import the more downward pressure there is on producer prices.”

The beef sector is no longer prepared to be the ‘sweetener’ for trade deals, particularly Mercosur the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

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Speaking after the launch of a new report from Europe on trade agreements, Creed said the report ‘vindicates’ Ireland’s stance in relation to the beef sector, as t shows that Ireland would be a loser in the event of additional trade agreements, he said.

“The more beef we import the more downward pressure there is on producer prices.”

As the biggest exporter of beef in the Northern Hemisphere he said Ireland has a particular ‘skin in the game’. This repot vindicates the point we have bee making for some time.

However, the Cumulative Impact of Trade Agreements report does have positives too, he said, especially in dairy and beverage exports. But he said in relation to beef there was a line being drawn in the sand.

 

“We need joined up thinking in relation to agriculture and trade commissioners – it is illogical to have a situation where we trade off a low carbon agricultural system and trade that off against food imports that come with a heavier carbon footprint.”

He said it would be “irrational” for the Commission to proceed with trade deals particularly in relation to beef quota access in the European market, in light of the report.

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Ireland needs trade deals that work and are consistent with EU policies, he said and trade deals that are balanced and fair.

“But there is a direct correlation between downward pressure on EU producer prices and increased volumes of beef being imported.”

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