Mercosur deal ‘reckless endangerment’ to EU beef production

The EU’s continuation of trade talks with the Mercosur bloc has been described as a reckless endangerment of the EU’s indigenous beef production – as well as being a threat in terms of food safety and the environment – by President of the ICMSA (Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association) John Comer.

Comer, who was speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, made the comments as reports spread of the trade talks being concluded before Christmas.

He says that the terms of the likely deal will result in “a volume of beef imports from South America that will severely damage Ireland’s beef sector – which is already suffering anxiety about the looming threat of losing UK markets through Brexit”.

The ICMSA has called for an immediate suspension of all trade talks between the EU and Mercosur until a final deal around Brexit has been agreed and signed-off.

Comer said that absolutely no one involved in Irish farming or agri-food was in favour of a trade deal involving increased (imported) volumes of South American beef.

He later observed that it was incredible that such a thing could even be considered in light of the most recent food standards scandal that had engulfed Brazil – in which that state’s official regulation of standards and consumer safety were seen to be flawed “to the point of non-existence”.

The EU must immediately announce a suspension of all trade talks with the Mercosur bloc until such time as the Brexit process is finalised and even then only on the basis of an equity of environmental standards, food safety and sustainability, he concluded.