Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has been questioned as to why he has not formally supported an objection to the Mercosur trade deal put forward by the Austrian farm minister.
IFA president Tim Cullinan has called on the Minister to use a meeting of EU farm ministers to state Ireland’s opposition to the trade deal.
The Austrian delegation has put forward an opposition paper to the deal with the support of four other EU countries.
“The Minister needs to come clean as to why he did not support the paper from Austria. However, there is still an opportunity for him to express his support at today’s meeting,” Cullinan said.
“We have consistently opposed a Mercosur trade deal that fails to recognise the lack of standards that exist in Brazil and other countries.
“We would expect our Minister to use the opportunity presented by this discussion at EU level to register Ireland’s objection to a deal that would undermine our production, particularly beef farming.”
The Austrian minister has raised a perceived contradiction between the European Commission’s policy on climate action and the pursuit of trade deals with countries that have a poor record in the area.
“We have a commitment that the Mercosur deal will not proceed if the countries fail to meet EU standards. Our Minister should be availing of today’s meeting to re-state Ireland’s opposition to this deal proceeding,” Cullinan concluded.