Irish farmers call for stop to Mercosur negotiations

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Irish farmers call for trade deal stoppage

Related tags: Beef, Lamb, Livestock, Pork, Poultry

The Irish Farmers Union (IFA) has called on the EU to say “enough is enough” in trade negotiations with trade bloc Mercosur.

IFA president Joe Healy said the time had come for EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan to put his foot down with trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, especially with Brexit pending.

Mercosur is a South American trade bloc, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay as members, and Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru as associate members.

Healy said that, with major uncertainty over Brexit and only contempt being shown by Brazil in their failure to meet EU standards on imports, the time had come for Hogan to “shout stop on Mercosur”.

He said EU Commission president Jean Claude Juncker and Hogan must deliver on their commitment to put Ireland first in Brexit and ensure that there was no Mercosur deal on beef while Brexit remained unresolved.

The IFA president said the Mercosur negotiations “lack credibility”​ and were taking place against "a background where there were major political scandals and unrest in Brazil and economic meltdown in Argentina"​.

He said the economic collapse in Argentina, which had seen the currency devalue by 125%, showed “how ludicrous”​ it would be for the EU to agree to any type of a trade deal with such an unstable economy.

IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods said: “In view of the lack of progress on Brexit and our critical dependence on the UK market for beef exports, the EU cannot agree to increased beef imports from Mercosur.”​ 

He said removing the UK market in Brexit would leave the EU beef market 116% self-sufficient. 

“Increasing EU beef imports makes no sense whatsoever and the EU Commission should instruct commissioner Malmström to withdraw beef from the Mercosur negotiations,”​ he said.

Woods said Irish and EU beef farmers were also very concerned over reports of the EU Commission allocating more of the existing hormone-free beef quota to the US.

Related topics: Meat

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