Commission must ensure Mercosur cannot supply steak cuts – MII

The volume of additional low-priced South American beef on the EU market will be damaging, according to Meat Industry Ireland (MII).

Issuing a brief statement on the matter today, Friday, June 28, in the aftermath of the announcement of “political agreement” between the EU and Mercosur for a trade deal, MII outlined recommendations to limit damage to the beef sector.

“If the commission is serious about ‘carefully managed quotas’ then it needs to ensure that all this beef is not allowed to be supplied as steak cuts,” the statement said.

A fresh/frozen quota split will not achieve this.

“The gains for the wider EU economy, at the expense of our domestic beef sector, need to be compensated,” the industry representative group said.

99,000t beef quota

The comments follow the announcement by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan of a beef quota for Mercosur meat under the new deal.

“We have had to make some significant concessions to achieve a balanced agreement,” he said.

“We have been able to strike a balance,” he added.

Specifically in relation to our beef quota which was an issue of great concern, the volume of imports of preferential rates will be increased by 99,000t.

“This is around 1.25% of total EU beef consumption but will be implemented over a period of five years,” he said.

“I would also make the point that it’s not that we don’t currently import beef and veal from South America. Last year we imported almost 270,000t of beef and veal from the four Mercosur countries, so we were already a well-established trader.”