Following the EU Farm Council meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin said Ireland must build on the rapidly growing opposition to the proposed Mercosur trade deal, including sensitive products such as beef.
20 Member States have now outlined their strong opposition to any plans by EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom to make an offer in May, which would include sensitive products. “The Commissioner cannot ignore the concerns of 20 members of the Farm Council and attempt to proceed with these negotiations.”
The Dutch Presidency said that a huge majority of Member States in the Farm Council are opposed to any offer involving TRQ (Tariff Rate Quota) and are insisting that a full impact analysis is undertaken before any negotiations with Mercosur.
The IFA National Chairman said Commissioner Hogan also outlined his strong concerns after the Farm Council meeting, and that he will be bringing the clear opposition of the EU Farm Ministers to the Trade Commissioner.
Mr Bergin said, “Previous analysis by the European Commission has shown that a Mercosur deal would inflict losses of €7.8bn on the EU agriculture sector. The individual losses at farm level would be much higher, particularly for beef farmers. This would have a major knock-on effect on rural economies, resulting in job losses”.
The IFA National Chairman said EU beef consumption has fallen by over 500,000t since 2010. The European market cannot absorb additional volumes of imports without a very negative effect on prices and farm incomes. He said a new impact assessment of a Mercosur trade deal for European agriculture is urgently required and should be discussed in both the Council of Ministers and European Parliament before proceeding with any further Mercosur negotiations.