Sinn Féin opposed to Mercosur trade deal
West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has written to the DAERA Permanent Secretary to express concern about the EU Mercosur trade deal and the potential negative impact this will have on farmers and the beef industry in the north.
Declan McAleer said:“Agriculture is highly integrated across the island with north south trade accounting for approximately £1.3 billion per year. Underpinning this is an international reputation for high quality, traceable produce.“Given the importance of this trade to our farmers and rural communities, I wanted to ascertain from DAERA if they conducted an assessment of the potential impact of the EU Mercursor Trade Agreement on the beef industry and on our farmers and rural communities here in the north.“In his response, the DAERA Permanent Secretary said that the department recognises that the additional imports are likely to focus on higher value cuts and there is also the cumulative impact of increased market access afforded by EU Free Trade Agreements.“The correspondence also provided assurance that the department continues to make representation to the British government on the need for adequate tariff protection for agriculture, particularly the beef and sheep sector where analysis indicates there us a vulnerability.“The carbon footprint to ship this beef across to Europe from South America makes no sense when we are already self-sufficient in high quality beef. Also, South American beef has lower standards than our own indigenous beef and uses pesticides and chemicals which are not allowed here.”