Urgent action to prevent an exchange of offers on a new trade deal between the EU and the Mercosur countries of South America has been called for by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), warning that a settlement would be “unequivocally negative” for European agriculture.
In a call directed at EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, the IFA’s chairman Jer Bergin also said that a Mercosur trade deal would undermine the political credibility of current EU/US negotiations.
Focusing mainly, but not exclusively, on beef issues, Mr Bergin said a Mercosur trade deal which could result in the EU market being flooded with cheap product from South America would “totally unacceptable”.
“Production standards in South American countries such as Brazil fail to meet EU standards on the key issues of traceability, animal health and welfare controls, the ban on hormone growth promoters and environmental controls,” he said.
Urging Commissioner Hogan to insist on a new impact assessment of a Mercosur Trade deal for European agriculture before proceeding with discussions, he said there was a need to secure “guarantees” that EU farmers will be fully protected as part of whatever is agreed.