10 MAY 2016
ICSA president Patrick Kent has said he is very hopeful that the ICSA demonstration in Dublin last week against beef concessions by the EU in trade talks with the USA and South America will prove successful.
ICSA held protests outside the EU Commission buildings in Dublin and Dail Eireann last week (May 4th) to highlight the absolute opposition of Irish farmers to an EU sell out of Irish beef interests in order to get benefits for multinationals.
Hundreds of ICSA members travelled to Dublin on Wednesday last, including a contingent from Co Carlow, where Mr Kent handed in letters of opposition to the EU Commission offices setting out the case against trade talk concessions on beef.
In particular, the association was particularly scathing of the proposal by the EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström to allocate a 78,000 ton tariff rate quota to the Mercosur block of South American countries. “This amount of beef coming into Ireland and the EU would effectively flood the market with ultra-cheap and possibly less regulated beef which would result in the likely decimation of the Irish beef industry. Indeed, it would not only affect the Irish beef industry but beef farmers across the EU,” said Mr Kent.
“The Commissioner for Trade seems to have taken too many steps without a proper mandate from the member states, without proper scrutiny by the members of the European Parliament and without a full analysis of the cumulative impact of multiple trade deals.”
Mr Kent pointed out that it was utterly unfair to provide free access to EU markets to external producers who do not have the same burden of cross compliance and regulation endured by European farmers. He added that these trade deals undermined EU climate change objectives.
“ICSA is demanding that the EU Commission rows back from getting a deal at the expense of the EU beef sector. Beef is a sensitive product that cannot withstand the effects of the proposed TRQ concessions in Mercosur or any potential similar concessions under TTIP.”
ICSA is also calling on the incoming government to take a very strong stance on these negotiations and to join the French government in rejecting the undermining of EU agriculture.
However, following ICSA’s protest the news coming from Brussels suggests a strong possibility that beef will be removed from the Mercosur trade talks. Mr Kent said “ICSA has worked hard to achieve this goal and we are optimistic that it will come to pass, but we must wait to see what is included in the exchange of offers between the EU and Mercosur on Wednesday (May 11th).”