The Government must reject the proposed EU trade deal with the Mercosur countries, including major beef producers Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said.
At a meeting with Tánaiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar on Wednesday, Cullinan said it defied logic to allow 100,000t of beef from Mercosur countries further undermine EU beef farmers.
“By any measure, the Mercosur countries, particularly Brazil, have failed to meet the criteria laid down by the EU [European] Commission for further access to the European beef market. The Irish Government must take a stand on this issue at EU level,” Cullinan said.
“The EU market is now 116% self-sufficient post-Brexit, yet the EU [European] Commission want[s] to facilitate Brazil to bring more beef into the EU.”
He said the Government needed to resist an attempt by some to suggest that the deal does not have to be ratified by member states.
“Under EU rules, this deal must be voted on by every member state, which effectively gives Ireland a veto. There is little or nothing in this deal for Ireland. We must be prepared to reject it,” Cullinan said.
The Commission cannot have it both ways
IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said it was hypocritical for the Commission to be preaching about the Farm to Fork strategy while facilitating widescale environmental degradation in South America.
“The Commission cannot have it both ways. They expect the highest standards from farmers here, yet they are willing to sign a deal like this. If the ideals of the EU [European] Commission are to stand for anything, this has to be stopped in its tracks,” Golden said.