8 JUNE 2016 – Irish Times
Contrary to the sanguine attitude of Brian Hayes MEP (May 25th, June 6th), we don’t need to wait and see what TTIP means for the beef sector. TTIP, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (EU/Canada) deal already negotiated, and a possible Mercosur (EU/South America) deal, mean extra imports into the EU of cheap and lower-standard beef, produced on large-scale operations.
We don’t need to wait and see what the approach of the EU negotiators is because we already have a very good idea through the openly admitted Mercosur proposal to allow 78,000 tons of ultra-cheap beef in under a tariff rate quota and through leaks about the TTIP talks.
The Copenhagen Economics consultancy group has already done an analysis for the Irish Government on the impact of TTIP on Ireland, and its conclusion was that the beef sector would be the clear loser. However, its study looked at TTIP in isolation, but in reality the likely impact of cumulative trade deals under CETA, TTIP and Mercosur is far worse.
It is all the more disappointing that some of our elected representatives appear not to understand the distinction between domestically oriented sectors like beef and foreign-controlled multinationals. While large-scale corporations may derive benefits, these largely accrue to international shareholders. On the other hand, anything that reduces the income of family-owned beef farms has a knock-on effect on every community in rural Ireland.
It is also essential to understand that the progress made by Irish farmers over many years in producing high-quality, animal welfare-friendly beef with a low-carbon footprint is at risk. Irish farmers are expected to meet the highest EU standards and produce under a raft of regulation that cannot be applied to imports from the Americas.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association believes that all elected representatives, including those from Dublin, need to understand very quickly that TTIP and other trade deals pose a very serious threat, and one which cannot be undone once agreed. – Yours, etc,
Irish Cattle and
Sheep Farmers’ Association,