Farmers on high alert as Mercosur deal looms

The farm lobby has gone on high alert amid rising fears that the European Union could reach a deal with the Mercosur group of South American countries in the coming months.

Copa and Cogeca secretary general Pekka Pesonen said the EU has already granted substantial market access on sensitive agricultural products, without getting much in return.

Irish Farmers’ Association president Joe Healy called on European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström to take beef off the table in the negotiations.

“Such a deal would be sabotage and a sell-out of the European Union beef and livestock sector,” he said.

Mr Healy urged Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to make it clear to President Juncker and the EU Commission that Ireland will not ratify any deal which undermines the interests of its farmers and inflicts major damage on its €3 billion beef and livestock sector.

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association president Pat McCormack said the European Commission’s credibility in tackling climate change would be “shattered” if a trade deal is concluded with Mercosur allowing additional beef into the EU.

Macra na Feirme president Thomas Duffy also called on the Taoiseach to reject any sell out of Irish beef farmers.

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