IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said it makes no sense whatsoever for the EU to recommence discussions with Mercosur, particularly in the context of the ongoing discussion on TTIP with the US and the climate change negotiations. He said any Mercosur trade deal would be extremely damaging for Irish and European agriculture, and especially our important beef trade.
Henry Burns said EU Commission analysis shows that a Mercosur deal would inflict losses of €7.8bn on the agriculture sector and he said the real losses at farm level would be much higher, particularly for beef farmers.
The IFA Livestock leader called on Minister Coveney and MEPs to come out strongly against a Mercosur deal and in defence of farmers and the agriculture sector.
In the context of the current debate on climate change, Henry Burns said, “Ireland beef production is based on environmentally sustainable grassland production systems which are between 2 and 4 times more efficient than South American production in terms of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)”.
He said, “It would be a total contradiction of EU policy on climate change for Europe to agree a Mercosur deal that replaces sustainable EU beef production for European consumers with product from South America, which has a much higher carbon footprint”.
“It is well established that the growth in South American beef exports and particularly exports from Brazil has come about on the back of widespread destruction of the rainforest in the Pantanal and Amazon regions. Amazonian deforestation accounts for over 75% of Brazil’s contribution to Global warming. Amazon deforestation averaged 2.15m hectares per annum (2000–2005) with 70% to 80% (1.72m ha/pa) attributed to cattle ranching.”