Mercosur negotiators must be told ‘the hard truth’ following delisting

Following the news that a Mercosur delegation has arrived in Europe and is due to meet with EU officials this week, the trade talks must be parked “immediately and indefinitely”, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

It is time for the European Commission to tell the Mercosur negotiators “the hard truth”, ICMSA president Pat McCormack added.

McCormack said last week’s decision by the commission to delist 20 meat processors in Brazil only highlights what he described as the “commercial and environmental absurdity” of continuing with the process.

The fact that anyone could contemplate negotiating a deal that would – “at a stroke” – hugely multiply the amount of beef imported from “very questionable sources” in Brazil and other Mercosur states is staggering, the president said.

He added that this is particularly the case in the context of what is a queue of massive problems facing the EU’s farming sector – and specifically Ireland’s beef sector.

On last week’s delisting of meat processors on grounds of association with malpractice, the president questioned how the commission could still believe that these are individual problems rather than “demonstrating a systemic and fundamental flaw in the whole Brazilian beef sector”.

McCormack also raised questions over how the commission is satisfied that the Brazilian meat sector is so different to the meat sectors of the other Mercosur countries.

He outlined that the idea that the commission could announce that emissions and sustainability must become even more important in deciding CAP, while at the same time negotiating with a trade bloc whose agricultural sectors are internationally notorious for their irresponsible attitudes to the environment, beggared belief.

There are no grounds whatsoever on which the continuation of these talks make any sense and Ireland must demand that the commission immediately and indefinitely suspend the talks, McCormack concluded.