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IFA Warns Against Mercosur Threat to €2.5Bn Irish Beef Sector

25 September 2017

IRELAND - IFA President Joe Healy and National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods met the EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan at the National Ploughing Championships last week to outline IFA’s strong opposition to any offer on beef which would increase access in the EU/Mercosur trade negotiations.

Mr Healy said with Brexit uncertainty and the Brazilian meat scandal, now is not the time to make concessions to South America.

Mr Healy said the word from Brussels is that an EU offer on Mercosur to include beef is imminent.

"We met the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed here yesterday and pointed out to him that this poses a very serious threat to our €2.5bn beef sector, and particularly our quality suckler cow herd."

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the uncertainty caused by Brexit on the sterling exchange rate is very severe and having a direct impact on farmers through lower cattle prices.

IFA is very strong that there can be no increase in import volumes or additional tariff rate quotas in any new offer in the Mercosur trade negotiations.

The EU cannot make any new offer which will damage the EU beef sector by allowing the South Americans to cherry pick the high price EU steak market.

Mr Woods said it is incredible to think that the EU is considering an offer on beef in Mercosur with Brexit up in the air and arrests over the Brazilian meat scandal.

He said the Mercosur countries already have very favourable access to the European market with up to 74 per cent of all EU beef imports amounting to 246,000t (carcase weight equivalent) every year.

IFA pointed out the damage that could be inflicted on both the Irish and EU beef sector from a bad Mercosur deal.

The EU’s own Impact Assessment shows that a Mercosur deal is bad and will damage the European beef sector.

"There is no room in the EU beef sector for additional imports or concessions to Mercosur. EU beef consumption is down over 20 per cent in the last decade.

"Concessions in Mercosur will have a devastating impact on farmers, our quality suckler cow herd and lead to job losses in rural areas," he said.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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