Mercosur trade deal with EU on hold: Dodds
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has spoken out following the most recent stall in EU free trade talks with the Mercosur trade bloc.Mrs Dodds said: “The European Commissions’ efforts to agree on a free trade agreement with the Mercosur Bloc have been ongoing since 2000 but earlier in the year a new emphasis and determination had been given to the idea. The Commission as a result of the economic downturn wanted to create an agreement which would supply the bloc with EU services and technology but at a cost to EU agriculture.
“The cost to agriculture has been estimated at some $13bn with the beef industry receiving the greatest blow. The real fear if the deal was to proceed is that the EU market would be flooded with lower cost, lower standard, high value cuts - an area which the EU market relies heavily upon.
“Progress has been once again stalled due to Venezuela joining the Mercosur trading bloc. The move was backed by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay but received strong opposition from Paraguay who has been suspended for one year because its president has been removed from office under impeachment charges.
“Given these changes the EU negotiations cannot restart at the earliest until April 2013 which leaves some breathing space for the industry. Given the current crisis facing the industry this stall in progress should be welcomed.”
She added: “I have made it very clear in the past that agriculture cannot be used as a bargaining chip by the commission and I will continue to be vocal on this issue when and if talks resume.”
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