3rd December, 2015
ICSA president Patrick Kent has called on Richard Bruton to make a statement on how he intends to protect the Irish beef sector in the light of disturbing progress towards a Mercosur trade deal. According to the ICSA leader, who held discussions in Brussels this week with Commission officials, there is a renewed impetus at EU level to a deal with the South American countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay) which make up the Mercosur block.
Mr Kent is warning of the dangers of agreeing to any such deal which would open EU markets to greater quantities of lower price South American beef. “Any deal which lowers or eliminates tariffs on South American imports will undermine the price of Irish exports to the UK and continental Europe. The beef sector is barely hanging in there in terms of profitability. It is hard to see what Ireland can gain out of a deal with the Mercosur block but it is abundantly clear that beef will lose.”
“Minister Bruton, in his role as Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation has responsibility for trade. He needs to push the importance of beef to the Irish economy with the EU trade commissioner, Cecelia Malmstrom and insist that Ireland will not accept a bad deal on beef.
Minister Bruton must make a strong statement on it immediately and outline the position of the Government. There is no time for prevarication as our information is that there is a drive on to get a deal wrapped up before the end of the year.”