EU beef market ‘fragile’

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Trade with Latin America could "collapse" Europe's beef sector, Copa and Cogeca say
Trade with Latin America could "collapse" Europe's beef sector, Copa and Cogeca say

Related tags Eu beef International trade European union Spanish language Eu Livestock

Europe’s farming body Copa and Cogeca has urged the EU Commission not to progress with bilateral free trade talks, saying they could have a “catastrophic” effect on the beef sector.

In a high-level meeting with EU Commission officials, Copa and Cogeca stressed EU farmers faced low incomes and added this hardship would be compounded if bilateral trade talks with Latin America were to resume.

The EU has been involved in on-off trade talks with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur – which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela – for some time. Despite the talks currently being on hold, its resumption is believed to be high on the agenda of the Dutch presidency, according to Copa and Cogeca.

Total collapse

The farming body has previously warned that if trade was liberalised with the Mercosur bloc, it would eventually lead to a “total collapse of the EU beef sector​” and cost it around €25bn ($27bn).

There are serious problems on the EU beef and veal market and the sector is very fragile,​” said Jean Pierre Fleury, chairman of Copa and Cogeca’s working party on beef and veal.

Cattle production is the only source of revenue for specialised beef producers where no other type of activity exists. EU farm incomes are on average half the average level and beef producers have particularly low incomes with around a €14,000 annual income. We therefore need a tool that can closely monitor the current situation and new trends, which should take the form of a beef meat market observatory, with regular meetings.

We also need a dynamic export strategy and solutions for export, especially when some of our key trade partners keep their barriers in place, by involving the European Investment Bank. There is little progress also when it comes to the full opening of non-EU markets to quality EU beef exports.​”

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