The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has called on Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to intervene and prevent an exchange of offers on a trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur group of South American countries.
IFA chairman Jer Bergin said a Mercosur trade deal is unequivocally negative for Irish and European agriculture, and would damage Ireland beef sector.
Pursuing a Mercosur trade deal would additionally undermine the political credibility of EU/US trade negotiations, he said. Mr Bergin warned that a trade deal with the Mercosur group could result in the EU market being flooded with cheap beef from South America.
He said an EU Commission analysis shows that a Mercosur deal would inflict losses of €7.8bn on the EU agriculture sector.
The real losses at farm level would be much higher, particularly for beef farmers, he said. This would have a knock-on effect in rural economies and lead to job losses, he said.
Mr Bergin called on the Commissioner to insist on a new impact assessment of a Mercosur trade deal for European agriculture before proceeding with any discussions.
Mr Hogan has pledged that European agriculture will be defended in talks.
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