The Dangers of a Mercosur Deal

IRELAND - Following a meeting with the European Commission’s Chef de Cabinet, Irish Farmers' Association President John Bryan said the bi-lateral discussions between the EU Commission and the Mercosur trading group scheduled for next month pose a serious threat to the viability of the beef sector in Ireland.
calendar icon 17 June 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Mr Bryan said he highlighted to the Commission that any attempt to increase beef imports from Brazil and South America would have devastating consequences for our livestock sector. “An increase in imports would have a very negative impact on the future growth potential of the agri-food sector, and Ireland’s economic recovery.”

John Bryan said concessions to Mercosur could inflict losses of €350m on the Irish beef sector and would drive the national beef cow herd down the same road as the sugar beet industry which was shut down by WTO trade concessions a number of years ago.

He said the decision by Commission President Barosso to facilitate an increase beef imports from Brazil, where production fails to comply with European standards, shows that the EU Commission is failing in its duty to safeguard European consumers and is undermining the viability of European producers.

John Bryan said Irish and European farmers operate to the highest international standards of food safety, animal identification and traceability with strict controls on animal medicines and animal disease. He said European consumers believe that all beef on sale in Europe meets these standards and have a right to expect the Commission’s import policy does not operate double standards.

The IFA President said European consumers also expect that the EU will not accept beef imports from Brazil, which are produced at a real cost in terms of climate change involving widespread destruction of the rainforests in the Panthanal and Amazon regions.

Mr Bryan continued: “Negotiations on the CAP post –2013 are ongoing. An agreement with the Mercosur countries, which will undermine the family farm structure in Europe, will have negative consequences for the CAP, Europe’s food producers, the rural economy and environment."

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