IFA President Joe Healy said that EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan must put his foot down and tell Trade Commissioner Malmstrom enough is enough on Mercosur talks.
EU Commission officials are in Montevideo in Uruguay this week to reconvene the Mercosur trade talks, and Healy, along with many other EU farmers, has said the deal doesn't make sense at this time.
“With major uncertainty over Brexit and only contempt being shown by Brazil in their failure to meet EU standards on imports, the time has come for Commission Hogan to shout stop on Mercosur,” he said.
Healy emphasised that EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan must deliver on their commitment to put Ireland first in Brexit and ensure that there is no Mercosur deal on beef, at least while Brexit remains unsorted.
According to the IFA, the Mercosur negotiations ‘lack credibility’ and are taking place against a background where there are major political scandals and unrest.
“Elections are set to take place in Brazil in October against a background of massive political corruption, deep economic recession, and rising unrest,” he added.
He highlighted that the economic collapse in Argentina has seen the currency devalue by 125% in the last 12 months, and that it would be ‘ludicrous’ for the EU to agree to any type of a trade deal with such an unstable economy.
He said with this type of devaluation Argentina could flood the EU with cheap substandard beef and other agricultural products.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods added, “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.”
“Increasing EU beef imports makes no sense whatsoever and the EU Commission should instruct Commissioner Malmstrom to withdraw beef from the Mercosur negotiations,” he added.
Woods highlighted that removing the UK market in Brexit will leave the EU beef market 116% self-sufficient.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.