Jer Bergin, the national chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), has called on the Government to join with France and lead a storm of protest by member states on Mercosur at the EU Commission’s Trade Policy Committee meeting in Brussels.
Mr. Bergin said there was clear opposition from 20 member states at the Farm Council meeting to the Commission’s draft trade offer on sensitive products such as beef.
“The EU already has an agricultural trade deficit with Mercosur of €18.5bn. Member States must reject the flawed strategy from Commissioner Malmstrom of sacrificing agriculture, in particular the Irish and EU beef sector, to do a trade deal at any cost,” he said.
Mr. Bergin said it was incredible that the EU Commission was offering a new Tariff Rate Quota of 78,000 tonnes to the Mercosur group on top of the preferential 275,000 tonnes access they already had.
“If the majority of these imports were brought is as high value steak cuts, it would be the equivalent of handing over more than one third of the valuable European steak market to South America,” Mr. Bergin said.
He accused DG Trade of drafting a reckless offer by running ahead of the commission’s own impact analysis that isn’t due until September.
He called on the Trade Policy Committee to insist that Commissioner Malmstrom withdraw the draft offer.