AGRAFACTS 4 MAY 2016
Beef “non-negotiable” in EU-Mercosur deal, ICSA: The Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) blamed the Commission for “selling out” the European beef sector in bilateral talks with the Mercosur trade bloc & the US during protests outside European Commission offices in Dublin today. ICSA President Patrick Kent accused EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström for “reckless concessions” in the sensitive beef sector, saying she had taken “too many steps without a proper mandate from Member States, without proper scrutiny by MEPs & without a full analysis of the cumulative impact of multiple trade deals”. The cattle & sheep farmer from New Ross (Co. Wexford) said the proposed annual TRQ of 78 000 tonnes of beef should be taken off the table in the talks with the highly-competitive food exporting bloc. Kent stressed the “unfairness” of providing external producers access to EU markets when they “do not have the same burden of crosscompliance & regulation endured by European farmers”. He also bemoaned how a trade deal would lead to higher carbon emissions in third countries & ran counter to the EU’s sustainable farming & climate change objectives. The Commission must “row back” on its proposed TRQs for sensitive products, while any future pact must not be “at the expense of the EU’s beef sector”, he added.