Mercosur deal slammed by farm organisations, IFA and ICSA
Reacting to the outcome of the trade talks with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, IFA President Joe Healy said EU negotiators have colluded in a deal that has sold out Irish and European farmers.
"This is a bad deal for Ireland and for Irish farmers, it’s a bad deal for the environment and it’s a bad deal for EU standards and consumers,” stated Joe Healy.
The IFA President called on the Taoiseach make it clear to Brussels that Ireland will not ratify this deal. "While Commissioner Hogan has done much good work, when he looks back on his five-year term, he will have to consider this Commission sell-out as a low point.
"The ‘turning a blind eye’ approach to double standards and environmental degradation in Brazil is indefensible. It makes an utter mockery of the pledge that this EU Commission signed when it took up office in 2014 to uphold EU legislation," he said.
"This deal represents a backroom deal with big business and kowtows to the likes of Mercedes and BMW in their drive to get cars into South America. It is a disgraceful and feeble sell out of a large part of our most valuable beef market to Latin American ranchers and factory farm units," he said.
"Irish and European farmers adhere to the highest standards on traceability, animal welfare, food safety and the environment. Farmers in Brazil do not. Yet our Government and the EU Commission waved the white flag and disregarded what consumers expect from their farmers."
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods pointed that our €3bn beef sector is much more important to Ireland than any other EU member state and we cannot allow our vital national interest in beef to be ruined by Brazilian beef imports.
Angus Woods said Ireland cannot allow the EU Commission inflict such damage on the EU beef market without consequences.
He said the EU Commission Joint Research Centre has calculated the impact of trade deals on the EU beef sector including Mercosur would cost be up to €7bn pa.
Newly elected ICSA president Edmond Phelan has slammed the EU/ Mercosur trade deal as "an absolute disgrace, which completely undermines the EU’s moral authority to lead on climate change.
"Let there be no doubt: a calculated decision has been made by European leaders to increase car sales, mainly petrol and diesel, at the price of sacrificing the EU beef farmer. The Irish beef sector, with 90% exported to EU markets, will take the full brunt of this outrageous decision.
"It beggars belief that more rain forest will be cut down to facilitate Brazilian beef expansion while sustainable EU beef systems will be made completely unviable. At a time when Brexit is already damaging the Irish beef sector, this deal is a complete betrayal of Irish cattle farmers.
"What is the point of farmers planting trees here when trees are being cut down in South American and massive quantities of fuel will be burnt to ship cheap, lower standard Brazilian beef to a market which is already fully supplied?
"ICSA will be demanding that the Oireachtas is given its say on this and that every single Irish politician stands up for our interests. This deal has nothing in it for Ireland. Consumers will see less and less Irish beef as we abandon any pretence that local, sustainable food matters and we become more and more dependent on South America. It’s not just beef; the deal also will see more chicken from South America. The Government must stand up for Irish farmers; there is no room for equivocation on this.”
Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson Brian Stanley said "the proposed EU trade deal with the Mercosur countries-Argintina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay would be disastrous for Irish agriculture and the environment.
“The Government now needs to build alliances with other EU states such as France to halt this sell-out of farmers."