EU/Canada trade deal moves a step closer despite beef quota concerns
Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, concluding the ratification process of this deal at the EU level.
Many customs duties on farm produce, processed foods and drinks will disappear.
Europe will be able to export nearly 92% of its agricultural and food products to Canada duty-free. European exports to Canada's market of high-income consumers will become cheaper.
The European Commission says this will create new export opportunities for EU farmers and producers of wines and spirits, fruit and vegetables, processed products and cheese.
However, Canada has secured a quota to export 55,000 ton of beef to the EU – this has particular resonance for Ireland.
Accoridng, to Irish MEP Luke Ming Flanagan, there is every reason to believe that the additional volumes allocated to Canada will be almost entirely served with high-quality hind cuts, especially rib and sirloin, in which case the 55,000-ton quota could equate to the high value cuts of approximately 800,000 head of cattle; to put this in context, Ireland’s weekly kill is about 30,000 head.
“Imports of this magnitude will decimate our beef industry,” he said.
The European Commission has stressed that all imports from Canada have to meet EU rules and regulations. For example, only hormone-free meat will ever be imported into the EU.