Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food Charlie McConalogue says he is deeply concerned about reports that the European Commission is set to offer a 70,000 ton beef quota at this week’s talks in Brasília. He says the situation is very worrying for beef farmers in Ireland.
“My party has been consistent in the view that an EU-Mercosur trade deal with South America represents a dangerous threat to European and Irish beef farmers. In light of the contaminated Brazilian meat export scandal earlier this year, it is my firm belief that any discussions on beef entering the EU market remain off the negotiation table.
“It is extremely important that Ireland and other like-minded member States make it clear to the Commission that European consumers cannot be exposed to substandard standards. The EU must continue to uphold our premier food safety, animal health, traceability and environmental standards.
“As a major exporter of beef into the EU marketplace (over 90%), any potential deal would represent a direct threat for continued market share for Irish beef product. Any new tariff rate quota for South American countries would result in high-value steak cuts being imported from the region, resulting in a negative impact on EU beef prices.
“It is essential that the Irish Government and other like-minded countries make it clear to the Commission that any trade discussions cannot undermine European and Irish beef farmers, and I will be raising this issue with Minister Creed in the coming days”.