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MEPs can support Farmers or trade deals like CETA, but not both - Carthy

15 November, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

The European Commission itself has proven that Irish MEPs can be on the side of farmers or support trade agreements such as the EU-Canada (CETA) deal, but they can no longer claim to do both.

So said Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, who has called on Fine Gael to immediately withdraw support for free trade deals that threaten the livelihood of farmers in Ireland.

The Midlands North West MEP and member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee was speaking following publication of a European Commission report into the Cumulative Effects of Trade Agreements which was published on Wednesday.

Matt Carthy said:

“Considering the findings of this report, it is not surprising that the European Commission chose to release its result only after the Wallonian Parliament was forced to accept the terms of the EU-Canada Trade Agreement (CETA).

“This report proves the catastrophic projections for the beef and sheep meat sectors that Sinn Féin has consistently warned off, with the success of other sectors such as pigmeat contingent only on the failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) parties to erode East-Asian markets.

“With beef producer prices set to fall by up to 16% as a result of the 12 completed and planned bilateral free trade deals examined by this report, production value to drop by 27% and an ultimate contraction of the market of between 1-1.5%, the Commission and pro-free trade agreement politicians no longer have any arguments to hide behind.

“While the report does claim some positive effects for dairy processors, increases in production in that sector is estimated to lead to a higher availability of meat from European dairy herds further causing a steep drop in meat prices by up to 16%

“The results of this study are damning for the Irish agricultural sector and statements by the Commissioner that this study will provide ‘ammunition’ to the EU in its talks with Mercosur are delusional, to say the least.

“Fine Gael proponents of these deals can no longer recycle arguments that the Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) have yet to be set for sensitive products in these agreements, as the report looks both at highly ambitious and conservative projected scenarios. For both, the situation looks dire.

“There is now an onus on Irish representatives at an EU level to heed the severe warnings that this report merely adds to.

Fine Gael, in particular, have a choice to make in advance of the European Parliament vote on CETA, due to take place in December.

"They can either support Irish farmers or they can support regressive trade deals such as CETA & TTIP, but they can't do both."

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