'Mercosur countries can be kicked out of deal if they do not adhere to standards' - EU

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

From vetting every Mercosur farm before its produce is allowed to enter the EU market to kicking farms and, ultimately, countries out of the agreement if they do not adhere to standards, an EU official informed the Farming Independent about the main potential impacts of a Mercosur trade deal.

Standards

The EU official pointed out that Mercosur countries have decided to embrace EU standards and will behave as one as they have had food scares in the past which they want to avoid in order not to damage the trade agreement

“They will be keen to keep up with the highest Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards because they will not want to stain the market. These countries want to shake off their cobwebs. They don’t want any rotten apples,” the spokesperson said.

Vetting farms

Farms in Mercosur countries will be vetted before their product is allowed access to the EU market. Not all states in Brazil or all farms will get access, it will be a case by case basis.

Red button

The EU official told the Farming Independent that if for any reason a problem is picked up regards animal health and welfare standards in the Mercosur countries “a red button can be pushed where farms, regions and ultimately countries can be kicked out of the trade agreement at any stage and would find it very difficult to be left back in”.

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

Climate targets

EU states have said if Brazil doesn’t take measures to achieve climate targets, the Mercosur Trade Deal will not be ratified. However, the official pointed out that it can’t anticipate Brazil going back on their commitments on climate.

Potential

Irish food and drinks exports to Mercosur countries totalled €14m in 2018. In a market which has over 260m consumers, the potential for growth is significant, according to the EU spokesperson. As Mercosur is a significant market for dairy and whiskey, Irish exporters in these sectors may benefit.

Ireland currently exports €7m worth of infant formula to Mercosur. Under the new agreement market openings will be offered for dairy such as cheese, skimmed milk powder and infant formula.

Challenges

The agreement provides for up to 99,000t of beef to be imported from Mercosur at preferential tariff rates, the EU official stated that this is just over 1pc of EU beef consumption and it is important to remember than the 99,000t will be spread across the entire 27 states and not just Ireland.

Online Editors


For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App