The European Parliament has voted against the Mercosur Deal by 345 votes to 295, the latest statement of opposition to a deal that has now failed the test of meeting EU standards.

IFA president Tim Cullinan has welcomed the vote which he believes “emphasises that the EU-Mercosur agreement cannot be ratified as it stands”.

At a recent informal EU Farm Council meeting, German agriculture minister Julia Klockner, said she was sceptical if the Mercosur agreement could be ratified in its current format.

Contradict goals

Researchers from University of Oxford recently concluded that mechanisms to include and protect local communities, track goods and to enforce sustainability standards are lacking throughout the proposed deal terms.

Cullinan continued: “The Commission was explicit that Mercosur could not go ahead if Brazil failed to meet environmental standards.”

European imports from the Mercosur bloc are driving one football pitch of deforestation every three minutes

The Oxford report warned that mechanisms to trace the origins of commodities with a high risk of driving deforestation, such as beef and soy, are absent.

Lead author of the report Dr Laura Kehoe said: “Even if we forget the Mercosur deal, European imports from the Mercosur bloc are driving one football pitch of deforestation every three minutes.”

In addition to outlining where the Mercosur trade deal fails in supporting sustainability, the paper also argues that the deal stands in direct contradiction to the recently announced European Green Deal goals.

Undermine farmers

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said it would be deeply hypocritical of the Commission to pursue a trade deal which he believes conflicts with EU policy.

Beef farmers in Ireland are facing huge uncertainty

“Commission President Ursula von der Leyen cannot stand over this deal and should send a clear signal that the EU will not do business with Brazil when it continues to flout the law,” Golden said.

“Beef farmers in Ireland are facing huge uncertainty with Brexit fast approaching. It’s critical [that] Irish beef is not undermined in the market place by inferior products that do not meet the high-cost production standards Irish and EU farmers implement.”

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