EU - Farming groups have welcomed the exchange of trade offers between the EU and South American trade bloc Mercosur, after beef was excluded from the offer as a sensitive product.
Irish Farmers' Association President Joe Healy said trade ministers must stand firm and ensure that there is no justification for re-introducing beef into the Mercosur negotiations at any stage.
He said: “Beef is a vital national interest for Ireland and under no circumstances can we allow the EU Commission to use it as the bargaining chip in the Mercosur negotiations.”
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) president Patrick Kent said: “While the removal of an offer to the Mercosur block of a substantial tariff rate quota for beef is good news, we cannot become complacent on this issue.
"The Mercosur negotiations, as well as other talks including TTIP, will continue. ICSA will remain vigilant on the issue to ensure the beef sector is never again used as a pawn for the benefit of other industries in such international trade talks.”
However, EU-wide farming organisation Copa & Cogeca said it still opposes the offer, due to the inclusion of other agricultural products.
Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said: “Some changes were made to the EU’s initial offer but it’s not enough for us.”
“In particular, I am extremely disappointed that the offer still includes sensitive agriculture products which could destroy our agriculture sector before any clarification was done in terms of removing red tape and other unnecessary non-tariff barriers to trade which stop our exports from entering these countries.”
TheCattleSite News Desk