Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Creed 'extremely' concerned about UK doing a beef deal with the South Americans

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed. Picture: Arthur Carron
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed. Picture: Arthur Carron
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that he is 'extremely' concerned about the fact that a post-Brexit scenario, in which the UK can unilaterally conduct its own trade negotiations could lead to the UK doing a deal with the Mercosur countries or other countries in respect of imports of a range of commodities, including beef, which could have the impact of undermining our position on UK supermarket shelves.

Sarah Collins and Ciaran Moran

"One of the messages on which we wanted to reassure our trading partners in the UK in particular was our commitment to the highest standards of safe, sustainable, traceable food," he said in the Dail recently.

Meanwhile, the EU trade chief has said that the bloc won’t “go further than sensitive sectors here can handle” in beef talks with South America’s Mercosur countries.

Cecilia Malmström (pictured) told MEPs this week that the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela are “highly valuable trading partners” for the EU.

European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmström
European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmström

She made the comments two weeks after an EU report found that beef farmers would be the big losers in future trade deals, largely as a result of cheaper imports from South America.

Ms Malmström insisted the EU should “treat the results with caution and avoid overreaction”.

“We are particularly careful when it comes to negotiations with partners who are strong exporters of our sensitive products,” she said.

“That’s how we are approaching the Mercosur negotiations and the question of beef exports in particular.”

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