‘Mercosur impact assessment needed – for all Brexit scenarios’ – FF

The Government has been urged by Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue to immediately request a full impact assessment of the Mercosur deal on the beef sector, in all Brexit scenarios.

Commenting on his call, deputy McConalogue said:

“In 2016, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre produced a damming report on the cumulative economic impact of future trade agreements on EU agriculture.

It reported that additional imports dominated by Mercosur countries from a trade deal would cost the EU beef sector €5 billion annually, with prices collapsing by up to 16%.

He added that no urgency was shown in building a coalition against the EU’s initial beef offer of 70,000t to the Mercosur bloc, or the later increased offer of 99,000t.

“I find it baffling that the Government has failed to request any new impact assessment since 2016.

“In the intervening three years, the situation facing beef farmers has gone from bad to worse. They have been failed badly by Government,” deputy McConalogue claimed.

The TD highlighted that approximately 90% of beef is exported from this country into the EU marketplace, with half of total exports destined for the UK every year.

Currently, the EU beef market is 102% self-sufficient. If the UK leaves the EU, this increases to 116% with excess produce saturating the European market.

“This is why we need a new cumulative impact assessment.

“It’s vital to get a proper and updated assessment as to how the Mercosur beef deal would impact the EU market and depress prices further than originally calculated in 2016.

“Despite the Fine Gael internal battles, which are an affront to the beef farmers who are on their knees, Minister Creed must immediately request a new assessment from his party colleague Commissioner Hogan,” concluded deputy McConologue