Speaking in advance of the next Beef Forum meeting, the President of ICMSA, Mr. John Comer said, that amongst the issues that need to be addressed at the Beef Forum are the future position of potential trade deals, progress in addressing the massive 30,000 head drop in live exports so far in 2016 and the review of the beef grid which quite clearly is not reflective of market requirements at this stage.
With the Brexit decision, Mr. Comer said, that clear questions need to be asked as to how trade negotiations can continue given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and how concessions can be made given that the EU will be 27 Member States at some stage with 65m less consumers. We cannot, Mr. Comer said, have a situation where 27 Members States will have to live with a trade deal agreed for 28 Member States going forward and lets be very clear, as a major exporter, Ireland will take the brunt of this. There is a major vacuum in light of the Brexit decision and trade negotiations need to clearly reflect this and Ireland must insist that trade deals do not proceed until clarity is available on this matter.
In relation to live exports, to date in 2016, there is 30,000 less cattle exported despite the growth in the Irish cattle population. Live export numbers need to be boosted and the Turkish live export tender will be closed at this stage and clear analysis should be available of where Ireland stands in relation to live export markets. In this regard, Mr. Comer said, that he believes that live exporters should be represented at the Beef Forum as they are a key player in the beef industry and they should have a say on its future.
Finally, a review of the Beef Grid has been a long standing demand of ICMSA’s and the evidence supporting a review is growing stronger by the day. Market requirements have changed but yet, ICMSA believes that certain categories of cattle are being unfairly penalised under the grid and the grid is simply overly complex and not fit for purpose. The grid needs to be reviewed and ICMSA will be hoping that the stakeholders at the Beef Forum will agree to a review, concluded Mr. Comer.
John Comer is (087) 2057846.
15 July 2016.