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“Ireland must reject Mercosur Trade Deal” - Carthy

11 April, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has stated that the ongoing Mercosur trade deal would have a detrimental impact on the beef trade in Ireland and must be rejected by the Irish government.Speaking on Monday as EU Agricultural Ministers meet to discuss progress on the deal Carthy, who represents the Midlands North West constituency and sits on the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee said:"The publication of an EU offer to Mercosur countries for increased imports into Europe proves what Sinn Féin has been saying for some time about this and other trade deals such as CETA and TTIP – that Ireland and particular our Agricultural sector is under grave threat by a dangerous EU trade agenda."These Mercosur trade talks started 16 years ago but have been suspended and stalled on many occasions since then.  We could have a new negotiating mandate before very long, after over a decade of stalemate.  That is unless governments, including the Irish government, stand up for their citizens."Reports suggest that a tariff-rate quota will be proposed for beef, which would have the effect of a mass flooding of the European market with beef of a vastly different quality and price resulting in Irish beef prices reducing by at up to 30% and inflict losses of up to €500m on the Irish economy."Despite farming organisations calling on Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to fight for the EU beef sector, the Commissioner has declared that he wold be launching a "diplomatic offensive" across emerging economics such as South American countries to "improve trade" - code for endorsing bad deals."The issues that caused the EU-Mercosur negotiations to fail the first time around have not been fixed.  There are still serious concerns about the compatibility of such an agreement with the objectives of EU agricultural policies, with the CAP having no equivalent in Mercosur countries, and negotiators seem to be ignoring the enormous price differentials in some areas. "Taken in conjunction with other trade deals currently being negotiated such as TTIP (with the USA) and CETA (with Canada) it is easy to infer that the Mercosur deal will contribute to major reductions or eliminations of import tariffs which will significantly cut the EU import price for beef.  The serious implications for the Irish economy cannot be underestimated."Sinn Féin will continue raising such concerns to ensure this and other trade deals will not fracture the agricultural sector in Ireland or standards that are in place to protect the environment or the rights of citizens.  However, Commissioner Hogan needs to do his job and act in the interests of Farmers.  Above all, the new Irish government needs to radically change the approach from acting as PR agents for the EU Commission to instead defending Ireland’s interests and standing up against bad trade deals such as Mercosur." 

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