IFA president Joe Healy has written to An Taoiseach calling on him intervene in Brussels to prevent the conclusion of the Mercosur trade deal.

He said that the deal could do untold damage to the Irish beef industry.

“In view of the major Brexit implications overhanging the Irish and EU beef sector and the environmental degradation associated with Brazilian beef exports, it would be reckless to support a Mercosur deal,” Healy said.

It is expected that up to 99,000t of South American beef would be granted access in the proposed deal with the Latin trade bloc.

Healy also highlighted that the added uncertainty of Brexit and the lack of climate-friendly credentials from countries such as Brazil should be considered as major stumbling blocks to any trade deal.

“How can the Commission ignore the fact that in Brexit the UK could impose tariffs as high as €850m per annum on Irish beef and possibly the closure of market access for over 290,000t of our beef exports?”

He added that Irish beef productions systems were four times more carbon efficient than South America and pointed out the issue of deforestation in Brazil.

“The EU FVO report of May 2017 highlighted that the Brazilian competent authority is not in a position to guarantee that the relevant export requirements are met.”