EU - Following a meeting of the EU Farm Council in Luxembourg yesterday, farming organisations have welcomed opposition among farm ministers to a proposed EU trade deal with Latin American bloc Mercosur.
Many in the agriculture sector in the EU believe that the current offer from the EU will be damaging for farming, especially beef.
EU-wide organisation Copa-Cogeca said as many as 20 Ministers warned the EU Commission against making an offer on agriculture which includes sensitive agriculture products in the free trade talks with Mercosur, and said the trade concessions would be unfair.
Cogeca President Thomas Magnusson said that European farmers are already suffering from a crisis and he expressed serious doubts about the free trade negotiations with Mercosur, saying studies have shown that the EU agri sector risks losing in excess of 7 billion euros from such a deal.
He said Mercosur is already a major exporter of agri commodities to the EU, with 86 per cent of our beef imports and 70 per cent of our poultry meat imports coming from these countries.
Mr Magnusson also cast doubt on the quality and environmental impacts of the meat products compared with European standards, and added that with large volumes already entering the EU, more tariff-free quotas are not necessary.
“The Commission also promised Ministers it would come up with an impact assessment before proceeding with an offer which it has failed to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers' Association's National Chairman Jer Bergin said Ireland must build on the rapidly growing opposition to the proposed Mercosur trade deal, including sensitive products such as beef.
Mr Bergin added that EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan had outlined his strong concerns after the Farm Council meeting, and that he will be bringing the clear opposition of the EU Farm Ministers to the Trade Commissioner.
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