Speaking exclusively to the Irish Farmers Journal in Brussels this week, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan sought to assure farmers that the Mercosur trade deal would not wipe out the Irish beef industry.

This is despite the EU granting the South American countries that make up Mercosur: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, access for 99,000t of beef carcase weight equivalent (cwe) to the EU market at a preferential tariff of 7.5%. This is in addition to reducing the tariff on the 66,000t Hilton quota from 20% at present to zero. The EU has also granted an 180,000t quota for tariff-free poultry meat.