The position being adopted by the EU Commission and the Irish Government on potential trade deals in the aftermath of Brexit remains unclear a month after the Brexit decision and as a major exporters of dairy and beef products, this uncertainty is highly dangerous with potential long term negative implications from a farmers perspective, according to Mr. John Comer, President of ICMSA.
As late as the Beef Forum meeting last week, Mr. Comer said, that ICMSA again raised our concerns in relation to the potential impact of trade deals on Irish farmers and lets be very clear, the full negative impacts of such deals will be passed back in full to farmers while any benefits will be gobbled up by the links further up the supply chain. Quite clearly, a trade deal for the EU with 65m less consumers should be very different than a trade deal including the UK and this matter up to now has been completely ignored.
In relation to the deal with Canada, CETA, a significant concession of 45,000 tonnes of beef was agreed in relation to access to the EU beef market for Canadian beef and it appears that this will not be opposed. This is simply not acceptable and the beef concession needs to be amended in the event of a Brexit. In relation to a potential Mercusor deal with South American countries, updated market access offers will be exchanged on September 16 with an official round of negotiations for October 10-14th in Brussels. A Mercusor deal has huge implications in particular for the Irish beef industry and the key question that now needs to be answered is whether Brexit adjustments will be included in these negotiations.
In the interests of fairness to EU farmers, such adjustments will have to be made to existing agreements and included in new agreements with Mercusor particularly critical. Mr. Comer said that he is very concerned that the policymakers appear to be ignoring this issue and this needs to change. The Irish Government needs to send out a very clear message that we will not accept or agree to a trade deal that does not address the reality of a Brexit, concluded Mr. Comer.
ENDS 27 July 2016
John Comer (087) 2057846.