Hogan on Mercosur: 'Irish beef farmers understand this is a better deal than was on the table in 2004'

Phil Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Phil Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The EU's Agriculture Commissioner has said there are a lot of misinformation and misplaced facts in relation to the EU-Mercosur trade agreement.

Speaking EU Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries meeting today in Brussels Hogan said the meeting is an opportunity to "present what is actually in the agreement as there is a lot of misinformation and misplaced facts in relation to the content of the deal."

He said the negotiations were difficult, especially around agriculture but the EU, he said, ring fenced sensitive products such as beef and arrived at quotes rather than full liberalisation of sensitive products.

Irish beef farmers understand that this is a better deal than was on the table in 2004 when there was up to 170,000t on the table, without any segmentation around chilled or frozen beef, he told journalists ahead of the meeting and that he hoped they would see it is a balanced outcome.

"I hope our farmers and ministers will read this document more carefully" and see we have a balanced outcome in the context of long and protracted negotiations which saw significant gains on the industrial side and reduced our concessions on agriculture, he said.

"No product will arrive from Mercusur countries without complying with existing EU food safety standards," he said and that the EU can decide what slaughter houses in the Mercosur countries can export to the EU.

He re-iterated that Mercosur countries are tied in to the Paris climate agreement or the deal falls.

"Hopefully we will see a mature debate based on facts."

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The Commissioner also said no one is talking about the 12m ha of reforestation going on in the Amazon or that the beef production in Brazil is in the southern part of the country.

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