Plans to finalise Mercosur EU deal this year ‘reckless’
However, the plans have been branded reckless by the ICMSA, who said given the uncertainty around Brexit, progressing with the deal would be hugely destabilising.
ICMSA president John Comer said any agreement was premised before the possibility of the UK market becoming harder to access through tariffs and quotas.
He added that massively increased imports of beef from South America would severely affect the prices and incomes of EU farmers.
“There is also the pressing and still unresolved matter of the widespread fraud recently uncovered in the Brazilian meat industry and the impossibility of continuing to place trust in a sector that had so demonstrably and repeatedly failed to meet its own dubious standards,” Comer said.
Calls for Irish Government to act
Comer added that as the situation around Brexit is not clear, “to even contemplate ‘throwing open’ the EU market to huge volumes of South American food imports while the domestic EU situation was so fluid and uncertain was absolutely reckless and could not be considered as a serious proposal”.
The ICMSA also called on the Irish Government to convince other member states and the EU that not concluding the Mercosur agreement is in the EU’s interest.
The president added that the possibility of an agreement by the year’s end had to be firmly taken off the table on the grounds that the EU would be unable to enter into any damaging international trade agreement until the Brexit challenge is dealt with fully.