24 JUNE 2019
ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham has called out the hypocrisy of EU leaders who are pushing for very challenging climate change restrictions on EU farmers while at the same time ignoring the massive climate change and environmental downsides of importing increased quantities of Brazilian beef under a Mercosur deal. “Mercosur negotiations make a mockery of the EU climate strategy.”
“ICSA has consistently opposed a Mercosur deal which will almost certainly include a tariff rate quota of almost 100,000 tons of extra South American beef. We are very concerned that there appears to be momentum for this kind of deal at the moment.”
ICSA has met the EU negotiators on Mercosur on several occasions in 2019 and we have left them in no doubt that a Mercosur deal would be an unmitigated disaster for the Irish beef sector. The risk is all the more pronounced because of Brexit uncertainty.
However, after the launch of the Government’s climate action plan, it is extremely frustrating to see all sorts of potential costs being imposed on farmers and other rural dwellers while EU leaders ignore the climate impact of replacing EU beef with imported South American beef. The climate action plan indicates that Irish farmers will be expected to plant more trees. Yet the importation of more South American beef will lead to further destruction of the rainforest with a lot more negative environmental impact than anything we can possibly compensate for in Europe. All this is being done so that German car manufacturers can sell even more cars in South America.”
“There are also alarming reports of human rights abuses attributed to land use change in South America. It is clear that this is one trade deal that comes at a very high price, and the views of President Bolsanaro should cause EU leaders to pause to reflect.
If a deal is agreed in principle by Commissioner Malmstrom, then ICSA will be putting extreme pressure on all members of the Oireachtas to vote it down. All EU parliaments have to ratify a major trade deal like this. We will not accept any prevarication on holding a Dáil vote on it.”