Mercosur Turmoil Means Further Delays Inevitable

EU - Further delays to the EU-Mercosur talks are inevitable, the National Farmers' Union (NFU) said yesterday after members of the Mercosur bloc agreed to Venezuela’s accession following the suspension of Paraguay.
calendar icon 16 August 2012
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

The NFU is concerned that the bilateral discussions currently underway between the EU and the South American Trading bloc will disproportionately affect the agricultural sector and beef producers in particular. The NFU has repeatedly urged negotiators to proceed with caution, stressing the importance of the so called “non-trade concerns”, in any talks with the Mercosur bloc.

The European farmer organisation Copa-Cogeca has put the cost of a deal on the EU agriculture sector at €13billion, with a loss of around €3bn in value terms to European beef farmers.

The NFU understands that any further discussions will now not take place until after the elections in Paraguay in April 2013 and may stall for longer.

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “The UK is a significant EU beef producer and the NFU still has real concerns that a deal with Mercosur would jeopardise our domestic beef industry by allowing cheap product, produced to lower standards onto the European market. Any delay in these negotiations is to be welcomed and we will remain watchful for any moves by individual members of the Mercosur bloc.

“In the meantime we must make moves to put our domestic beef industry on a sustainable footing to capitalise on emerging world markets and meet the demands of the UK consumer. The NFU plans to address these challenges and outline a vision for the future of the beef industry with the launch of a new report at the Livestock Event on September 4.”

Paraguay was temporarily suspended from the Mercosur bloc in June after its President was impeached. This allowed other members to push for Venezuela to join the group. The NFU believes that these factors, along with a more protectionist stance from Argentina, are likely to put added strain on EU-Mercosur talks that have stalled over recent months.

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