IFA President John Bryan said opposition is growing against an EU/Mercosur trade deal on agriculture which would seriously damage the beef and livestock sector.
Welcoming the strong statement of the new Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and his French counterpart Bruno Le Marie, John Bryan said the joint communiqué of both governments issued last week is clear that “agriculture cannot be the adjustment variable on trade negotiations and particularly for the beef sector”.
Following a meeting with Minister Coveney in Brussels last week Mr Bryan said the minister has been strong in setting out his opposition and reservations about Mercosur and he has strongly challenged the EU Commission regarding the severe impact a deal with Mercosur would have on the Irish beef sector.
The IFA President dismissed loose talk of compensation as very foolish and said no level of compensation could replace the Irish Suckler cow beef herd and its value to the country.
Mr Bryan said it is incredible that the commission are attempting to drive on a Mercosur deal when last week the European Court of Auditors found major shortcomings on the control of meat imports.
The court found that “substantial reductions in the level of import controls were accepted in some equivalence agreements established with Third countries”.
In addition, Mr Bryan said that there is a complete contradiction in the EU policy on trade and climate change. “It makes no sense whatsoever for the Commission to be pushing a Mercosur trade deal which will replace carbon friendly European beef at 20kgs CO2-eq/kg with Brazilian beef from the Amazon which has a carbon footprint of 700kgs CO2-eq/kg”.