Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Mercosur deal to hit Irish beef for €350m

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

A comprehensive trade deal between the EU and Mercosur would inflict losses of €350m on the Irish beef sector and decimate the tillage industry, the IFA has warned.

IFA president John Bryan told the EU Agriculture Commission's chef de cabinet, Georg Haeusler, that the bi-lateral discussions with the South American trading group posed a "serious threat" to the viability of the beef sector in Ireland.

Mr Bryan told Commission officials that any attempt to increase beef imports from Mercosur -- which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay -- would have devastating consequences for Ireland's livestock sector.

Losses

John Bryan said concessions to Mercosur could inflict losses of €350m on the Irish beef sector and would drive the national beef cow herd down the same road as the sugar beet industry.

He once again questioned the production standards of beef imports from Brazil and accused the EU Commission of failing in its duty to safeguard European consumers and of undermining the viability of European producers by raising the prospect of increased beef imports from South America.

"Negotiations on the CAP post-2013 are ongoing. An agreement with the Mercosur countries, which will undermine the family farm structure in Europe, will have negative consequences for the CAP, Europe's food producers, the rural economy and environment," Mr Bryan said.

He said the impact of a deal on the pig, poultry and beef sectors would also be felt by tillage farmers, with outlets for 1.8m tonnes of grain being closed off.


Decimate

"A Mercosur trade deal would shut out the pig and poultry industry, which uses close on 1m tonnes of native cereal and decimate our beef sector which uses a further 800,000 tonnes," Mr Bryan claimed.

He called on the Irish Government to mount an all-out campaign in Europe to prevent a "sell-out" of Irish and European agriculture in any Mercosur trade deal.

The Commission has insisted that any agreement would not be detrimental to the EU farm sector.

Talks between Commission officials and Mercosur representatives are due to start in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires next week.

Irish Independent