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CETA could be the final nail in the coffin for beef farmers – Kenny

27 October, 2016 - by Martin Kenny TD


Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny, who represents Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal, has noted that a deal has been done in Belgium, with the regional government of Wallonia, regarding the Canada-EU agreement which is now likely to go ahead.

Deputy Kenny said:

“CETA could be the final nail in the coffin for the country's beef farmers who are literally on their knees as it is. They will not be able to compete with cheap Canadian beef entering the EU.

“I note that the Wallonian regional government got a deal which it says will help protect its agri-food and farming industries. This is more than can be said for the Irish government which once again has rolled over at the whim of Brussels and failed to protect our farmers from this damaging deal, which will be followed by TTIP if we are not vigilant. 

“Under the CETA trade agreement, the EU will be granting Canada the right to export into the EU 50,000 tonnes of beef which would include 15,000 tonnes of frozen beef, 30,838 tonnes of fresh/chilled beef and 4,162 tonnes of fresh beef.

“Teagasc in its National Farm Survey Results 2015 says that the average family farm income across the 84,259 farms represented by the survey was €26,303 in 2015. Cattle-rearing farms have the lowest average farm income a mere €12,660 with a majority (53%) of cattle rearing farms earning less than €10,000 in 2015.

“Beef Analysis 2025, a briefing document prepared by the Department of Agriculture shows that beef accounts for 30% of  gross farm output making it the most important primary agriculture product in Ireland.

“We export 90% of our beef making us the biggest net exporter of beef in the EU and the fifth biggest in the world. Exports are in the region of 500,000 tonnes worth over €2 billion. 

“Britain is still the biggest market for our beef representing 53% of exports or 250,000 tonnes.  Most of the rest of our beef goes to Europe, particularly France, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

“Consumption in the EU, the market which accounts for over 98% of Irish exports has declined since 2010 to under 7.8 million tonnes and is expected to remain at that level  into 2023.

“Current imports into the EU amount to 300,000 tonnes and the import requirement in the coming years is not predicted to go much beyond this. 

“Beef farmers will not be able to take another hit if cheap Canadian beef enters the EU. Many beef farmers will be forced out of business and if this is allowed to happen our most important industry in terms of trade will be jeopardised. 

“It's ironic that one arm of the government, namely the Department of Agriculture, is working to increase beef output while another arm, the Cabinet, is hell bent on ratifying a toxic trade deal which will flood the EU with cheap beef to compete with our exports.” 

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