Farm Ireland

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Dáil has 'perfect opportunity' to halt Mercosur deal: ICMSA

REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
ICMSA President Pat McCormack.

An intensive lobby of Dáil members to halt ratification of any EU trade deal with Mercosur which increases South American access to European beef markets has been threatened by ICMSA.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council confirmed last week that EU member states will have to individually approve any proposed agreement with the South American trading bloc via their own domestic ratification process.

This move has given Ireland "a perfect opportunity" to stop "a potentially catastrophic development for the Irish beef sector," ICMSA leader Pat McCormack claimed.

He said that it was unlikely that even a single deputy in the Dáil who understood anything about the nature and existing challenges to our multi-billion euro beef exports would support an agreement designed to facilitate the importation of massive amounts of South American beef, raised with lower food safety standards and produced from an environmentally destructive system.

Mr McCormack said the imported South American beef would undoubtedly be sold into our existing markets at prices designed to undercut our beef exports produced sustainably under the most stringent regulatory system in the world.

"In the event of a Mercosur agreement being put to the Oireachtas, ICMSA will contact every political party, grouping and individual TD to explain why the national interest, food safety - and environmental logic - dictated that any proposed Mercosur agreement involving the importation of additional South American beef must be absolutely rejected," he said.

Although the Mercosur talks are stalled, it has emerged this week that some progress has been made on the thorny issue of car parts which was proving contentious. Brazil's reluctance to accept a phase-out of car parts tariffs over 10 years remained a serious sticking point in the negotiations.

However, it is understood that some movement has been made on this front over the last week and this could kick-start the talks process once more.

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