Hogan lashes Mercosur ‘megaphone’ tactics
Another round of Mercosur and EU trade talks begins this week in Uruguay, with trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström on stand-by to attend (she will be in the region at a G20 meeting).
But little progress is expected, particularly after Brazil’s foreign minister told the Financial Times in an interview that the EU’s offer was not generous enough.
Agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan last week hit out at what he called “megaphone diplomacy” by the Mercosur side, saying it “will not help produce the right result”.
Mr Hogan said the EU has made a “genuine” offer to Mercosur on beef, sugar and ethanol, but has “yet to get a proper response”. The EU is looking for increased access to South American auto, ship and dairy markets, and protections for specialty produce such as feta and Prosecco.
“If we cannot achieve a good and balanced outcome in respect of all these issues, there cannot be a deal that will get the support of our Member States, our farmers and our citizens,” Mr Hogan said in a written statement.
The Mercosur talks, which have been going on for more than 20 years, have been marred by stops and starts. Several EU countries, particularly France and Ireland, object to what they see as an over-generous offer on beef. The EU insists any new import quota will not go beyond 99,000 tonnes.
IFA President Joe Healy said the time has come for EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan put his foot down and tell Trade Commissioner Malmstrom enough is enough.
Joe Healy said, “With major uncertainty over Brexit and only contempt being shown by Brazil in their failure to meet EU standards on imports, the time has come for Commission Hogan to shout stop on Mercosur”.