Irish farmers will 'feel brunt' of EU's Mercosur deal 'sell-out'
The EU's expected offer of a further 70,000t beef quota to South American beef farmers as part of the trade deal with Mercosur has been slammed by the farm organisations and processing sector.
The IFA and ICSA claimed the deal represented a "sell out" of beef farmers and a possible hammer blow to incomes in the sector.
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said the move added to the uncertainty around Brexit and described the Commission's decision as "completely unacceptable".
The trade talks between the EU Commission and Mercosur -which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay - have stalled in recent weeks over the failure of Europe to make concessions on access for the South American trade bloc's beef and ethanol exports.
However, both sides have committed to agreeing a trade deal by Christmas, and the Commission's move on beef is an effort to give the negotiations some momentum. But the decision has been roundly criticised.
"This amounts to a complete sell out of beef farmers across Europe, with the likelihood that Irish farmers will feel the brunt," said ICSA president Patrick Kent.
"The Mercosur countries have failed to meet EU standards on the fundamental issues of food safety and traceability.
"EU beef farmers have endeavoured over many years to ensure the very highest standards are met at every stage of production. Agreeing to allow more and more inferior quality beef into Europe simply cannot be justified."