Davos ‘an opportunity’ to slam Mercosur talks

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar can use discussions with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as an opportunity to restate Ireland’s opposition to the Mercosur trade deal, according to Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Joe Healy.

The EU Trade Commissioner is guilty of “undermining European policy and values” in her “sell-out” approach on beef in Mercosur, Healy said.

“There is a clear contradiction at EU level when one arm of the commission is prepared to do this deal, while European farmers are asked to play their part against climate change.”

With a ministerial meeting on Mercosur scheduled for Brussels next Tuesday, Healy said the Taoiseach has to launch an all-out offensive against this deal.

The growth in Brazilian beef exports is driven by the destruction of the Amazon rainforests and the carbon footprint of Brazilian beef is four times that of EU production.

“There are no controls on animal welfare in Brazil. Slave labour is widespread in rural areas and the beef sector,” Healy said.

The president said EU consumers want food that is produced sustainably, is healthy, protects the environment, helps fight climate change, respects the animals, is fair to farmers and produced locally.

He said Brazilian beef is not sustainable in terms of its failure to meet EU standards on the key issues of traceability, food safety, animal welfare and the environment.

“The ‘Weak Flesh’ fraud highlighted again the food safety issues with Brazilian meat, where there are no controls on the use of hormones, drugs and beta-agonists – all banned in the EU.”

Davos

The World Economic Forum will take place in the Swiss ski resort of Davos this morning. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will both be in attendance, representing Ireland. President of the US, Donald Trump, will also be present at the event.

The issue of corporate tax policies is expected to feature prominently on the agendas of the Irish representatives.

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