Creed outlines Mercosur deal fears in letter to Hogan

Michael Creed, the Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has written to Phil Hogan to express his fear that a trade deal between the EU and Mercosur – the South American trading block – is getting closer.

“It is with increasing concern that I have been following recent developments in the EU-Mercosur negotiations, and what appear to be growing prospects of an unbalanced agreement that undermines the EU’s most vulnerable agricultural sectors,” the minister warned.

In a letter dated Friday, June 7, Minister Creed told the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development that these negotiations were so far developing in a way that was causing “significant unease” for Ireland and other member states.

The minister stressed to the commissioner the potential impact that a deal with Mercosur could have on EU agriculture, particularly the European and Irish beef sectors.

“Ireland’s concerns have been greatly heightened recently by reports indicating that progress is being made on a number of outstanding issues in industry and other sectors, and that this is generating renewed pressure for further EU concessions in sensitive sectors such as beef,” the minister argued.

He made reference to the European Commission’s own assessment on the impact of a potential Mercosur deal –  something the Irish Government has been basing its objections on, according to Minister Creed.

He also highlighted again the impact that Brexit will have on an “already finely balanced” sector.

It is therefore imperative that no further concessions are made in relation to beef. Further clarity should be provided in relation to what offer might be made by Mercosur in relation to improved access for EU dairy and alcoholic beverages.

The minister also outlined what he said is the need to “ensure policy coherence” between trade objectives and climate objectives, noting the sustainability issues among Mercosur members.

Minister Creed concluded by saying that he would continue engaging with the other European Commissioners, as well as the member states, to “strenuously defend the interests” of EU agriculture, and called on Commissioner Hogan to do likewise.