Irish farmers slam EU trade deal with Canada
Irish farmers have joined the ranks of those criticising a beleaguered EU trade deal with Canada.
A delegation from the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) travelled to Brussels last week to ask the EU to reconsider duty-free access for beef under future trade deals.
They say the Canada deal, and potential draft deals with the US and the South America Mercosur bloc of countries, will flood the EU with beef it doesn't need, eating into Ireland's export share.
Under the Canada deal, an extra 50,000 tonnes of beef a year will be allowed on to the EU market, tariff free, from 2022.
Ireland's beef exports last year amounted to 500,000 tonnes, half of which went to the UK.
But the IFA has warned that European beef consumption is falling and says the EU needs to do more to protect its farmers, particularly from products that don't meet its high standards.
It is not clear how much beef will be allowed into the EU under the draft US and Mercosur deals, though the European Commission will publish a "cumulative impact assessment" on farmers of all its trade deals next month.
The IFA says Mercosur countries - particularly its biggest beef producer, Brazil - fail to meet EU standards on traceability, animal health and welfare, hormone use and environmental controls.