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Copa and Cogeca Hit Out at Plans to Include Beef in Next Round of Trade

19 September 2017

EU - As trade liberalsiing talks between the EU and Latin American trade bloc Mercosur intensify, Copa and Cogeca hit out at plans to include beef in a potential trade deal with Mercosur, warning it would threaten quality EU beef supplies, growth and jobs in rural areas.

Speaking in Brussels, Chairman of Copa and Cogeca Beef Working Party Jean-Pierre Fleury said: "We are very worried about the move, as the Mercosur trade deal would have a severe impact on EU agriculture, especially the beef sector.

"This is particularly worrying as meat consumption has already declined by 20 per cent in the past decade and we still don’t know yet the impact of Brexit on the EU agriculture sector.

"Moreover, we have some of the highest food safety and animal welfare standards in the world which imports from these countries do not have.

"We record an individual animals movements from the day it is born to the day it dies whilst in Mercosur countries only 10 per cent of the animals life is covered.

"Our system reassures consumers about the safety and quality of their meat. Beef production in Europe – especially specialized beef production – also provides growth and jobs in EU rural areas where often no alternative source of employment exists at the same time as contributing to green growth.

"Sixty million hectares of grassland, which act as a carbon sink, exist due to this economic activity."

Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen went on to say: "We are disappointed that the EU Commission plans to include beef in a market access deal offered to Mercosur. We need fair and balanced deals on agriculture in any trade agreement.

"A new EU trade impact study confirms the catastrophic impact that a Mercosur trade deal could have on the EU beef sector, unless tariff rate quotes on imports are imposed.

"EU Agriculture Ministers have also issued warnings against making an offer on agriculture which includes sensitive agriculture products in the talks. But the Commission is going ahead with the move, without getting much in return.

"We cannot continue to use this important European sector as the bargaining chip for other areas. This agreement has to be ambitious in defending European farmers."

TheCattleSite News Desk

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