Dec 092015

The possibility of a renewed focus on a Mercusor trade deal with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay should be of major concern to Irish farmers in particular beef farmers and it is absolutely essential that any attempt to sell out the Irish beef sector is strongly opposed by the Irish Government according to Mr. John Comer, President of ICMSA.

The reluctance of the Irish delegation to support re-opening negotiations at the Foreign Affairs Council in late November while welcome needs to be re-enforced given that if import tariffs are reduced and EU standards are not a pre-requisite for imports, enormous long term damage could be done to the Irish beef sector due to a flood of cheap imports from factory type farms in South America.

Consistently, over time, the EU agriculture sector has been sacrificed in trade deals with benefits accruing to big business.   The Mercusor deal in particular is of huge concern and one need only look at the challenges already facing the Irish beef sector to know that we simply cannot afford unfair competition from beef imports that do not and will not meet the same exacting standards that we have to meet.

The Irish Governments’ reluctance to re-open negotiations is welcome and they need to re-enfore and build opposition to any such deal, concluded Mr. Comer.

ENDS.   09 December 2015

John Comer (087) 2057846

President ICMSA