28 OCTOBER 2016
ICSA president Patrick Kent has expressed huge disappointment at the apparent bullying of the Wallonia region in Belgium over their opposition to the CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU with the apparent outcome being that Belgium is now accepting that the deal will go ahead.
“Wallonia raised very important points about how the deal is damaging to EU beef farmers and also correctly challenged the investor dispute mechanism. CETA will involve a quota for 50,000 tons of beef at a time when Irish farmers are seeing beef price in freefall. Given the uncertainty around Brexit, the last thing we need is more beef being imported. It is clear that the EU market does not have capacity to absorb it and it will lead to further downward pressure on price. Irish beef farmers are under immense pressure and the implementation of CETA will further undermine their viability.”
“Worse, perhaps, is that CETA is a blueprint for a TTIP deal with the USA. It beggars belief that the EU would stubbornly press ahead with these trade deals that offer absolutely no upside to the EU beef farming sector, when there is so much uncertainty about markets.”
“ICSA is again calling for all trade deal negotiations to be frozen until such time as Brexit negotiations are concluded and the nature of the EU/UK trading arrangements are clear. It must be remembered that the UK could also do another, separate deal with Canada, USA or South America which would multiply the impact on our beef exporting sector. The Irish government needs to immediately wake up to the threat from all of these trade deals and instead of criticising Wallonia, we should have listened to them.”