Beef trade deal looks set to be softened
The EU Commission looks set to row back on a draft offer allowing thousands of tonnes of South American beef to hit European shop shelves.
Farming bodies have welcomed the potential move to remove low tariff quotas for around 78,000 tonnes of beef and ethanol - two sensitive agricultural products - from the early draft offers under a trade deal with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur.
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan are understood to have met last week to discuss the move. It follows mounting pressure from EU countries and farm lobby groups.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA), which staged a protest on the Mercosur trade deal this week, said they were hopeful that their objections would be listened to.
Irish Farmers' Association president Joe Healy said any negotiating strategy based on concessions on sensitive products including beef was totally flawed and this was clear from the growing opposition that had emerged.