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Irish Beef Sector must not be sacrificed at altar of Free Trade - Carthy

25 March, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Commenting today on the IFA position paper on the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations launched this week in Dublin, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has stated that the Government must act to protect the interests of Irish Agriculture during the course of the trade negotiations.

Carthy stated:

“The IFA position paper published yesterday and clearly sets out the need for a strong consideration of the likely impact of the proposed EU – US trade deal, currently being negotiated, could have on our agricultural sector.

“The position paper clearly sets out the differing standards of food production between the EU and the US, with the US employing a number of practices such as the injection of growth hormones into beef and the use of GMO feed which leads to lower costs of production.

“Clearly, Irish beef farmers, due to smaller farm size and greater costs of production due to the high standards associated with Irish beef, world renowned for its quality, are not in a position to compete with a rancher from Texas, nor should they be expected to.

“The Irish Beef Sector is among the most important of Irish indigenous industries, supporting over 100,000 family farms. Beef production accounted for 30% of the gross output of the agricultural sector in 2013, making it the most important primary agriculture product that year.

“Ireland is the largest exporter of beef within the EU and the fifth largest in the world – we export over 90% of beef produced here – and therefore the sector is particularly exposed to any major increase in EU import volumes.

“The Government must come out clearly and state what, if any, are the red line issues for Ireland in these negotiations. All the evidence suggests that the Government has been blinded by the potential benefits and is content to walk us into yet another deal that could have devastating effects for years to come.

"The Government must make a clear commitment that it will not support any deal that is not in Ireland's interests and that the long term interests of Irish Agriculture, particularly the Irish Beef Sector will not be sacrificed at the altar of Free Trade."ENDS

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