The ICSA and IFA have cautiously welcomed reports from Brussels which suggest that Beef is among a number of “sensitive products” which has been removed from the draft offer on Mercosur being considered by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
ICSA president Patrick Kent says he is hopeful that the EU Commission will listen to the wave of objection to beef being sacrificed at the Mercosur talks. He said that the “ICSA’s protest held outside the EU Commission office yesterday reflects a widespread opposition to the inclusion of substantial tariff rate quotas for beef in the Mercosur talks. News emerging from Brussels suggests that the EU Commission is starting to pay attention to the opposition but we will wait to see what is included in the exchange of offers between the EU and Mercosur next Wednesday.”
“We have conveyed the opposition of Irish farmers to the Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström through our protests in Dublin outside the EU Commission offices and the Dail, and also we have set out the case against a big tariff rate quota for beef in a detailed letter to her.”
Mr Kent concluded that the ICSA protests are helping to convey the wider opposition across Europe to unbalanced trade deals under Mercosur and also TTIP. “The leaked documents on TTIP suggest that car parts were being prioritised at the expense of European family beef farms. ICSA will continue its campaign to support the European beef sector until we are certain that beef is not sacrificed to get a deal.”
IFA President Joe Healy said that the IFA had raised grave concerns over the inclusion of beef in the Commission’s draft offer and had taken up this matter directly with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture. Mr Healy said within 36 hours of being elected, he had travelled to Brussels to raise the matter with the EU Commission at the highest level.
Joe Healy said any negotiating strategy based on concessions on sensitive products including beef was totally flawed and this was clear from the growing opposition that had emerged to the inclusion of beef among 20 Member States at the Farm Council. IFA will continue to build alliances with other countries which share our real concerns about the impact of these negotiations”.
The IFA President concluded by saying that the new Government must be vigilant and make it clear in Brussels that there is no justification for re-introducing it into the Mercosur negotiations. in related news there a reports that Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independents have agreed a programme for Government and a Cabinet could be in place before the weekend.