6 SEPTEMBER 2016
ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan today warned that Ireland must remain very vigilant to the threat of a deal being done with the Mercosur trading block which would further undermine the viability of the cattle sector. Reacting to comments from EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in response to a written question from Marian Harkin MEP, Mr Phelan called on the Irish government to take a very strong line against Mercosur deals.
“ICSA protested earlier this year outside the EU Commission offices and the Dáil against the potential offer of 78,000 tons of tariff rate quota beef for the Mercosur countries. Following this protest, the offer was taken off the table by Commissioner Malmström. However, the Commissioner has now stated that ‘beef could still be added to the offer at a later stage and that it was not off the agenda.’ This demonstrates that a Mercosur deal is still a potential threat to our industry. Ireland has nothing to gain from a Mercosur deal. In fact, the threat has become more acute with Brexit due to the potential for the UK to do another additional deal for South American beef.”
“When it comes to an issue of such vital national interest, it’s time for the government to stand up and be counted. ICSA is demanding that the Irish government insists that there can be no further concessions on beef and that talks should be suspended until such time as the outcome of Brexit talks is clear,” concluded Mr Phelan.