Mercosur deal on the table is 'not a done deal' - Creed

Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

The Mercosur deal on the table is not a done deal, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

Minister Creed pointed out in the Dail yesterday that the Mercosur deal had a “considerable distance to travel” before it could be fully ratified  and while the outcome was disappointing the tariff rate quota of 99,000t sought by South American countries was much lower than their original demand of 300,000t.

“In addition the tariff rate quota is split between fresh and frozen products and will be phased in over a period of years.

"Therefore the full impact of the agreement is unlikely to be felt for a considerable period of time. We must also acknowledge that there may be some opportunity for the Irish dairy sector and drinks industry,” he said.

“I do not accept that this is a done deal. It hasn’t been approved by any government. There is considerable distance to travel before an end deal, it’s not a done deal.”

Fianna Fail Agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue stated that the deal defies logic at EU level and one that destroys the Irish beef sector

“It makes no sense from an economic point of view. The prices farmers are getting as low as €3.65kg for prime quality beef today. I don’t detect any big push back from the government in relation to this deal. It represents a political failure. The horse has bolted in a sense.”

The deal, which will see an extra 99,000t of beef from the four South American countries - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay - gain access to EU shelves but Minister Creed added that would have to go undergo legal scrubbing and a political approval process before it was ratified.

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“It is early days yet and there are still a number of steps that must be taken before agreement can be implemented. It will first be put through a process of legal scrubbing and translation that could take up to two years,” he said.

“It will then be submitted to the Council of Trade Ministers for a qualified majority vote and to the EU parliament for its consent. If it was applied at that point it would still take a number of years to come in to full affect.”

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