IFA President Eddie Downey said it is imperative that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Ministers’ Bruton and Coveney immediately intervene at the highest levels in Brussels to stop any exchange of offers, currently being considered by the EU Commission President Barroso, in the Mercosur trade negotiations with Brazil and other South American states.
Eddie Downey said there is real fear that President Barroso and Trade Commissioner de Gucht are determined to make a substantial EU offer on agriculture and market access in the Mercosur negotiations during the lull period between the European elections and the establishment of the new Parliament. He said “There is a very real threat that an attempt will be made to bypass the system and urgent intervention is required at the highest political level”.
The IFA President said this is a very worrying period in the Mercosur negotiations. “It is being reported that there is more unity than heretofore on the South American side with less negative soundings from Argentina. However the real concern lies on the EU side with President Barroso intent on making a substantial EU offer on market access and volumes.”
Eddie Downey said such a move exposes the Irish and European beef and livestock sector to major import volumes of cheaper beef from South America and particularly the major exporter Brazil. There are also significant implications for the pig and poultry sectors.
The IFA President said the Taoiseach and Ireland has a very strong case to make based on the importance of the beef and livestock sector to the Irish economy, the massive economic and social implications of a deal and the failure of Mercosur exports to meet EU standards on the key issues of traceability, food safety, animal health and environmental controls. In addition, he said Ireland should demand a detailed impact assessment of a Mercosur deal at individual state level before any offers are made.
Eddie Downey said any major movement on the EU/Mercosur negotiations will seriously undermine the EU/US negotiations in TTIP.