Copa and Cogeca warn against ‘selling off agriculture’ in Mercosur deal

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Copa and Cogeca warn against ‘selling off agriculture’ in Mercosur deal

Related tags: Eu beef market, International trade, Eu, Beef, Livestock

Copa and Cogeca have written to EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, calling for agriculture not to be sold off in trade talks with Mercosur.

The farming bodies oppose the EU move to give further concessions on agriculture in return for gains in other economic sectors to the Latin American Trade bloc Mercosur.

Copa president Joachim Rukwied said: “The EU has already given a lot on agriculture to the

Mercosur countries in the trade negotiations, without getting much in return. It is unacceptable that the EU is increasing its offer on agriculture in the talks. Trade concessions must be minimised for our more sensitive sectors, namely beef, sugar, poultry, ethanol, rice and orange juice imports to the EU.

Cogeca president Thomas Magnusson added: “We already import substantial amounts of agricultural produce from these countries and get no reciprocity from them. We need balanced trade agreements that respect our production methods. In view of the uncertainties in the Brexit talks, as well as discussions on the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and EU budget, we urge the EU not to make concessions on agriculture in the talks. Any further attempts to sell off agriculture in the trade talks will jeopardise growth and jobs in rural areas, which runs counter to the EU strategy of reviving rural jobs in Europe.”

Last month, Copa and Cogeca announced their opposition to the EU move to raise its offer on beef significantly to 99,000t in the Mercosur trade talks, warning it was “unacceptable​”.

Copa and Cogeca beef working party chairman Jean-Pierre Fleury said: “Over 75% of our beef imports – 246,000 tonnes – already comes from these countries and it is unacceptable that the EU has increased its offer in return for concessions in other sectors.

“We need fair and balanced trade agreements that also ensure our market is not oversupplied, otherwise growth and jobs in our rural areas will be threatened. Now is not the time to propose this, when we do not know the impact of the talks of the exit of the UK from the EU. With 52% of Irish beef destined for the UK market, we cannot put further pressure on the EU beef market in a trade pact with the Latin American countries.”

Related topics: Meat

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