Speaking from the Ploughing Championships in Screggan, the President of ICMSA has described the EU’s continuation of trade talks with the Mercosur bloc as a reckless endangerment of the EU’s indigenous beef production as well as being a threat in terms of food safety and the environment. Mr. Comer was speaking as reports spread that has the talks being concluded before Christmas. The terms of the likely deal will mean a volume of beef imports from South America that will severely damage Ireland’s beef sector – already anxious about the looming threat of losing their UK markets through Brexit.
ICMSA has called for an immediate suspension of all trade talks between the EU and Mercosur till a final deal around Brexit has been agreed and signed-off. Mr. Comer said that absolutely no-one involved in Irish farming or agri-food was in favour of a trade deal involving increased volumes of South American beef but he he went on to observe that it was incredible that such a thing could even be considered in light of the most recent food standards scandal that had engulfed Brazil in which that state’s official regulation of standards and consumer safety were seen to be flawed to the point of non-existence.
The EU must immediately announce a suspension of all trade talks with the Mercosur bloc such time as the Brexit process was finalised and even then only on the basis of an equity of environmental standards, food safety and sustainability, he concluded.
Ends 20 September 2017
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office