IFA Challenges Secretary General on Mercosur Talks

IRELAND - Speaking after a meeting with the EU Commission Secretary General Catherine Day in Brussels yesterday, Irish Farmers Association (IFA) President, John Bryan, challenged the EU Commission and said there must be a fundamental re-think about the EU-Mercosur trade talks.
calendar icon 9 July 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

He said, “I made it very clear to Catherine Day that it makes no sense to pursue a bilateral with the South American trading bloc. We are about to embark on serious negotiations about the future of the Common Agricultural Policy post 2013 and it would be counterproductive to undermine European farm families with a side deal that will certainly have very negative implications for them.”

Mr Bryan also pointed out that economies across the EU emerging from recession should not be exposed to trade deals that will not deliver tangible gains, but will seriously affect agricultural output and jobs.

The IFA President said Catherine Day had to convince Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that a beef deal could cost the Irish beef and livestock sector €350 miilion and inflict damage on the European beef sector amounting to billions of euros.

“There would also be devastating consequences for the pig, poultry and grain producers that would be displaced by imports that fail to meet the same standards.” Mr Bryan told the Secretary General that allowing this deal to go through while promoting climate change policies was hypocritical of the Commission.

Mr Bryan said, “The EU Commission will have no credibility if they talk about the importance of developing climate change solutions and at the same time sign off on a trade deal that will lead to the destruction of the rainforest. The wider implications – climate change, animal welfare standards, labour standards – when fully considered, leaves a Mercosur deal impossible.”

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