The Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers' Association (ICSA) said today that it is time to call a halt to World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations.
According to ICSA president Malcolm Thompson, “the fact that, after almost a full week of negotiations, there is little sign of an agreement proves that there are too many negative consequences to this whole WTO charade.
“Obviously, our main concern is with the future of the Irish farming sector, but it is also clear that there are many other sectors in many countries who find the WTO text equally detrimental.
“What we are witnessing is an effort by unaccountable elite negotiators such as Commissioner Mandelson to go against the interests of the majority of ordinary citizens, including farmers, and to contravene the legitimate national interests of the various EU member states.
“The fact is that five years on from Cancun we still don’t know what’s going to happen. This shows that the process cannot be described as fair, democratic or balanced.”
ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch reiterated that there is no prospect of a balanced deal.
“The complete lack of balance in terms of what is on the table reflects the reality that the WTO is losing international legitimacy," he said.
“At this point, it is time for all the parties at WTO to give up on this flawed process. In any event, it will be impossible for the Irish or other EU governments to support what is on the table, because there is nothing there that provides workable solutions to the challenges facing us, such as food security, a sustainable agriculture in Europe or even the economic well being of the EU-27.”