Beef imports are seriously undermining EU and Irish beef prices – and the new EU-US “sweetheart deal” on beef imports will further undermine the sector, which is in crisis, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

This is “another example of beef farmers being sacrificed for other sectors”, according to IFA livestock chairman Angus Woods.

The chairman described the deal between the EU and the US, announced by US President Trump on Friday evening, August 2, on the non-hormone beef quota as a “backdoor arrangement” facilitated by the recent Mercosur agreement.

The EU has reallocated most of the non-hormone quota to the US and allocated the South American countries that had used most of this quota an additional 99,000t of extra quota, in the Mercosur deal.

The new arrangement between the EU and the US involves ringfencing 35,000t of beef quota specifically for the US, out of the total 45,000t tariff rate quota for non-hormone beef.

In 2009, the EU and the US concluded a memorandum of understanding – revised in 2014 – which the European Commission says “provides a solution to a longstanding dispute in the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the use of certain growth-promoting hormones in beef production”.

Friday’s agreement will see the US allocated 35,000t, phased in over a seven-year period.