Eu Cannot Increase Beef Offer in Mercosur

IFA President Joe Healy said Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan cannot allow EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to make any additional offers to the Brazilians in the Mercosur trade negotiations.

Joe Healy said Commissioner Malmstrom has already gone way too far in her reckless sell out of European beef farmers for the benefit of Brazilian big business and the European auto sector. The IFA President was speaking as the EU and Mercosur continue negotiations in Paraguay this week.

The IFA President accused Commissioner Malmstrom of being naive and of being misled by the Brazilians in the trade talks. “The only thing we have seen from Commissioner Malmstrom in these negotiations is give away after give away of the European beef sector, with little or nothing in return. The Commissioner has already capitulated to the Brazilians in these negotiations, moving from 45,000t to 70,000t and now reports from Paraguay that the Brazilians are looking for way more.”

Joe Healy said, “EU Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmstrom cannot be allowed to give away any more. Joe Healy said Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has made it clear that the 70,000t is the only formal offer from the Commission. The Commissioner has to dig in on this and not allow Commissioner Malmstrom to be rolled again in the negotiations”.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said Commissioner Hogan has to face down the Trade Commissioner and insist that the EU does not give any more concessions to the Brazilians. He said talk of the EU Commission renegotiating existing TRQ (tariff rate quotas) and giving further concessions to the Brazilians is nothing short of a three-card trick, “Commissioner Hogan must dig in and stop Commissioner Malmstrom in her tracks from conceding on the double to Brazil.”

He accused the Trade Commissioner of blatantly undermining European policy and values on the environment and animal welfare. “One arm of the Commission is prepared to do this deal and undermine the environment and animal welfare, while European farmers are asked to play their part on climate change and maintain the highest welfare standards.” He said Irish beef production is four times more carbon efficient than Brazil where growth is driven on the back of destruction of the rainforests.

“The negotiating strategy flies in the face of everything that the EU stands for, and what is happening in terms of Brexit. Beef is more important to Ireland than any other member state. Commissioner Hogan cannot agree to a Mercosur deal involving a major increase in substandard beef imports from Brazil at the same time as we face into the serious challenges of Brexit.”

With Brexit, the EU beef market would be 116% self-sufficient. To negotiate a trade deal with Mercosur at this time makes no sense whatsoever.

In a separate development, the EU Commission has confirmed that seven meat processing facilities in Brazil are set to be delisted from the EU list of plants cleared to export to the European Union.

Angus Woods said this proves the point that Commissioner Malmstrom is wrong in her willingness to do a trade deal on additional beef imports into Europe from a country that fails to meet EU standards on the key issues of food safety, traceability, animal health and welfare, environmental and labour standards.

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