The Voice of Europe’s Poultry Sector (AVEC) said the agreement betrays the work they’ve been doing. In a statement, an AVEC spokeswoman said: “With the Mercosur deal the EU Commission is basically saying: Your efforts were useless. We are fine with importing poultry meat with lower standards from third countries.”
She said there is evidence of lower production standards amongst Mercosur members.
“The proofs are there: audit reports, performed by the EU Commission in 2013 and 2017 shows that Brazil does not respect EU rules.
“The EU poultry meat sector feels betrayed by the Commission. Our sector has been sacrificed to satisfy the interests of bigger players. Our words may be strong, but they serve to highlight the level of disarray within the poultry meat sector right now.”
Irish farmers have expressed their displeasure at the agreement, claiming it was a “bad deal for Ireland and for Irish farmers, the environment and for EU standards and consumers”.
In a column published by the Irish Independent, EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said concessions had to be made in order for an agreement to be reached.
“Far from being an overnight deal, the EU-Mercosur agreement was 20 years in the making and, over those 20 years, there were plenty of false dawns. As with any trade agreement, the final outcome involved a degree of compromise between the two sides. There are both opportunities and challenges, and nowhere is this more evident than with Ireland and agriculture.
Hogan also addressed concerns over standards and sustainability expressed by some parties. “By insisting on full compliance with the EU's strict sanitary standards, the commission is improving food safety standards in the Mercosur countries. EU food safety standards are non-negotiable and will be applied rigorously through the EU's Irish-based Food and Veterinary Office at Grange, Co Meath.
“As regards sustainability, I welcome and indeed share the concerns expressed about the impact on deforestation. The agreement includes a binding commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, under which Brazil has pledged to end illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by 2030 and to restore and reforest 12 million hectares of forests.”