14 Feb 2011
IFA WARNING OVER EU/MERCOSUR TRADE NEGOTIATIONSCattle
Speaking from Brussels, IFA President John Bryan welcomed the strong support from the European Parliament demanding that the EU Commission must take full account of equivalence of standards and the protection of the CAP in any trade negotiations, including the current Mercosur talks.
The IFA President said the European Parliament has set down two very strong over-riding conditions on trade negotiations for the Commission on the equivalence of standards for all imports and on protection of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Last week in the European Parliament John Bryan said the Agriculture Committee strongly criticised the Commission’s approach to trade negotiations with Third Countries, accusing the Commission of ‘extremely generous’ offers and failing to achieve equivalent concessions for the EU. In addition, the Agricultural Committee demanded the EU high standards on Environment, animal Plant Welfare and Health be applied to all imports to ensure fair competition and consumer protection and a tightening up of border controls and checks on production methods in countries exporting to the EU.
John Bryan accused the EU Trade Commissioner Karl De Gucht of failing to adequately defend the interest of the European Union in the Mercosur negotiations on the crucial issues of food security, sustainability and climate change, and standards. In a visit to Paraguay and Uruguay this week, Commissioner De Gucht suggested that a Mercosur trade deal should be comprehensive and ambitious going beyond the WTO obligations. “It would be a disaster for European and Irish agriculture and he accused the Commissioner of sacrificing agriculture and particularly the beef and livestock sector in order to secure a Mercosur deal at any cost.”
Mr Bryan pointed out that the negative implications for European agriculture from a Mercosur deal are very substantial with losses estimated at multiples of tens of billions of euros, while the possible benefits to other EU sectors are not at all evident.