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IFA: Mercosur Beef Offer a Mistake; Hogan, Creed Must Not Allow Sellout of Irish Beef Sector

29 September 2017

EU - With reports from Brussels that the EU Commission have agreed a new substantial offer on beef for the Mercosur trade negotiations, IFA President Joe Healy said it is a major mistake for the EU Commission to make this offer at this time given the huge uncertainty over Brexit and the ongoing scandals in Brazil over their failure to meet EU standards.

He said it is incredible that, despite strong objections from 11 EU member states, led by Ireland and France, the EU Commission are hell bent on making additional concessions to the Brazilians and other Latin American countries at a very high cost to Irish and European beef farmers.

IFA National Livestock chairman Angus Woods said the Mercosur countries already have too much access to the European market with up to 74 per cent of all EU beef imports amounting to 246,000t (carcase weight equivalent) every year.

Mr Woods said the Commission are way too lenient with Brazil and others over their continuing failure to meet EU standards on the key issues of traceability, food safety, animal health and the environment. He said the fact remains that the EU relies on the Brazilian authorities to certify beef imports and the record shows that they are not capable of meeting EU standards.

Sellout of Irish Beef Sector Must Not be Allowed

With leaks from Brussels that the EU Commission is about to make an offer on beef in the Mercosur trade talks, Mr Healy said Irish beef farmers are depending on EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to strongly oppose any offer on beef in the negotiations.

Mr Healy said, "Now is the time for Commissioner Hogan to put his foot down in Brussels and stop any sell out of the beef sector."

The IFA President said it is incredible that the EU Commission is intending to proceed with an offer on beef considering the uncertainty and possible cliff edge facing the Irish and EU beef sector in Brexit, and the ongoing scandals emerging from the main Mercosur country of Brazil. He said now is not the time to make any concessions to the South American countries.

Mr Woods said IFA met with Commissioner Hogan last week and made very clear Ireland’s strong opposition to any offer on beef which would involve concessions to the Brazilians and others in Mercosur.

He said, "Proposals to allow the Brazilians to convert cooked corn beef imports into steak cuts would be extremely damaging. We cannot hand over any more of our high value steak market in the EU to Brazil and Argentina."

He said the Mercosur countries already have too much access to the European market with up to 74 per cent of all EU beef imports amounting to 246,000t (carcase weight equivalent) every year.

Mr Woods said the Commission are way too lenient with Brazil and others over their continuing failure to meet EU standards on the key issues of traceability, food safety, animal health and the environment. He said the fact remains that the EU relies on the Brazilian authorities to certify beef imports and the record shows that they are not capable of meeting EU standards.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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