Commission Assessment of Mercosur Deal Flawed – IFA

Speaking ahead of a presentation in Brussels on Monday to the EPP group in the European Parliament, IFA President John Bryan has said the EU Commission’s assessment of a Mercosur trade deal seriously underestimates the hit on Irish and European agriculture, as COPA’s assessment highlighted losses which are a multiple of the Commission’s estimate.

He said the EU Commission’s estimate of losses of €3bn has little credibility against the European Farmers Union COPA’s own assessment, which estimated losses closer to €30bn. John Bryan challenged the Commission to explain the difference.

The IFA President said the Commission study appeared to work on the assumption of the ‘best- case scenario’, as the assessment carried out for DG Agri takes no account of the increase in high-value steak cuts, which would devastate the Irish livestock sector. Neither does it take into account the negative impact on the global environment, or the damage to rural employment and land abandonment in Europe.

John Bryan welcomed the concern of the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. He called on the Minister to seek the support of the Council of Ministers for an immediate suspension of the Mercosur talks.

He said, “The EU cannot hand over half of our high value steak market to the South Americans, who fail to meet EU food safety standards.He said the decision of the Russian authorities to ban Brazilian beef from 27 plants raises further serious questions about the standards that exist in Brazil.”

The inspection ‘demonstrated a number of systemic deficiencies in the work of the National Veterinary Services in Brazil’. It also found that ‘veterinary certificates for products exported to Russia groundlessly confirmed their compliance with the current Russian requirements’. The report also said the ‘safety of all products produced cannot be ensured’ and ‘the situation gives reasons to doubt the reliability of the results of veterinary and sanitary inspections at the plants’.

Niall Madigan             (01) 450 1931/ 086 822 8635

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