Irish beef farmer fear about free trade deal
On top of the "massive uncertainty" over the British Brexit, the ongoing trade talks to allow a larger influx of South American meat products into Europe would have "disastrous consequences" for the Irish beef industry. The warning was made by Irish Primeminister Leo Varadkar, as talks continue between Brussels and the 'Mercosur countries' of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay on a free trade deal.
The ongoing negotiations come amid fears the Irish agri-food industry will bear the brunt of a hard Brexit. The Irish Brexit sub-committee discussed a stark impact study which estimates as many as 12.400 job losses in the sector under a new scenario. Chairman Phillip Carroll stressed MII's strong objection to further concession on beef access to the EU beyond "an already excessive quota of 70000 tonnes".
He argued it isn't the time for an EU-Mercosur trade deal that would result in extra beef imports into Europe given the "massive uncertainty created by Brexit and the clear negative implications of the UK exit from the EU for the Irish beef sector". He said the beef industry is "the most exposed to Brexit fallout" and Ireland, as the largest exporter of beef to the European market, would be worst hit by an increased volume of South American beef entering the EU. He urged the Government to continue to highlight Irish concerns at European level.