EU access for South American beef could see Irish beef prices fall by 30%, said Éamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson.
Mr Ó Cuív said it was vital Ireland and like-minded countries at this week’s EU ministerial meetings insist that Mercosur trade talks do not undermine European and Irish beef farmers.
“Ireland exports over 90% of our beef to the EU market. A new tariff rate quota from South American countries will result in high-value steak cuts being imported, and have a negative impact on EU beef prices.”
Meanwhile, ICSA president Patrick Kent said any deal when EU farmers are feeling the pressure due to commodity price volatility and the knock-on impact of the Russian ban would be reckless and irresponsible.
“Concessions on tariff rate quotas, opening the floodgates to ultra-cheap South American beef, would be the sacrifice of the EU beef sector,” said Mr Kent.
“What is the point of the EU at all if there is access without significant tariffs for far away countries which do not have to deal with EU standards and regulations?”
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