The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) today staged a protest outside the EU Commission offices due to what they describe as ‘the potential sell-out of the EU beef farming sector in Mercosur and TTIP talks’.
ICSA president Patrick Kent accused EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom of reckless concessions and claimed that the EU Commission has no democratic mandate to push for a trade deal at such a huge cost to the European beef farming sector.
“ICSA is particularly alarmed at the proposed concession of a 78,000 ton tariff rate quota (TRQ) in the Mercosur talks and the possibility of a similar offer on TTIP. All of this comes after the concession of 50,000 tons to Canadian farmers under CETA.
“ICSA is outraged that 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.
“It is not good enough to analyse these deals in isolation. The impact on EU beef farmers must be assessed on the basis of the aggregate importation of ultra-cheap beef from both North and South America.”
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.”
ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said ICBF have gone too far with their changes to the beef breeding indexes regarding pedigree bulls. Commenting on the changes which came into effect this week Mr Kelleher said, “ICSA met with ICBF back in early November where we were reassured that no drastic changes would be made; this has turned out to be far from the case however. The changes are proving to have considerable ramifications for farmers participating in the SCEP scheme and indeed for the future of the suckler sector as a whole,” he said.