Speaking at the IFA Annual General Meeting in Dublin this week, IFA President John Bryan said themost immediate threat facing Irish farmers in 2011 is the headlong rush by European Commission President Barroso and DG Trade Commissioner De Gucht to complete a trade deal with the Mercosur countries, including Brazil and Argentina.
John Bryan said the whole basis of the EU approach to the Mercosur negotiations is flawed as it involves the sell-out of European agriculture by allowing EU market access for a flood of imports.
The IFA President said Ireland’s €2bn livestock and beef sector is particularly vulnerable, because Brazilian beef imports will destroy price returns from EU markets. He said there are also grave implications for our dairy, pigmeat, poultry and cereals sectors.
In a clear message to all the political parties, John Bryan said Mercosur will be a key issue in IFA’s election manifesto. He said IFA is demanding a strong commitment that any new Government will take a tough stance against Mercosur and in defence of agriculture at European level.
The IFA President said, “We must insist on an end to EU double standards on South American imports, when it comes to food safety and traceability, animal health and environmental standards.”
John Bryan said the closure of our Sugar industry should be a clear lesson to our Government and the EU Commission that any Mercosur trade deal will devastate our beef industry and destroy our prospects of achieving the Food Harvest 2020 targets.