THERE must be a fundamental rethink about the European Union-Mercosur trade talks, the Irish Farmers Association warned yesterday.
IFA president John Bryan was speaking in Brussels yesterday after meeting with the European Commission’s secretary general Catherine Day.
He said he made clear that it makes no sense to pursue a bilateral agreement with the South American trading bloc.
“We are about to embark on serious negotiations about the future of the Common Agricultural Policy post-2013. It would be counterproductive to undermine European farm families with a side deal that will certainly have very negative implications for them,” he said.
He said 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.
He said Ms Day has to convince Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that a beef deal could cost the Irish beef and livestock sector €350m and inflict damage on the European beef sector amounting to billions of euro.
“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,” he said.
Mr Bryan said he told the secretary general that allowing this deal to go through while promoting climate change policies was hypocritical.
“The 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 of climate change, animal welfare standards and labour standards, when fully considered, leaves a Mercosur deal impossible,” he said.
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