Mercusor deal slammed as a ‘callous sell-out’ of farmers

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The EU-Mercusor Trade Agreement, finalised at the weekend after 20 years of negotiations, has been slammed as a ‘callous sell-out’ of farmers and rural communities.

The comment was made by Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson who claimed the deal will decimate an already struggling beef industry and rural communities.

She added:“Our farmers are already facing the disastrous impact of a reckless no-deal Brexit which is being pursued by the Tories and the DUP.

“Farmers face another threat this time from within the EU. This agreement will flood the European market with environmentally damaging beef from South America and hit our already struggling rural communities.

“The Irish and British governments should come out unequivocally against this disastrous agreement,” the MEP continued.

“I will be seeking a seat on the International Trade Committee in the newly formed European Parliament so that I can challenge this attack on our farming communities.

“Sinn Féin will continue to stand with farmers and rural communities; whether that is in opposing Brexit or damaging EU trade deals.”

The EU is the first major partner to strike a trade pact with Mercosur, a bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil Paraguay and Uruguay.

The agreement will cover a population of 780 million and cement the close political and economic relations between the EU and Mercosur countries.

Copa and Cogeca said it deeply regret the substantial concessions made in the agricultural chapter with Mercosur.

Considering the huge difference in production standards, the imports of Mercosur’s agricultural goods will de facto establish double standards and unfair competition for some key European production sectors, putting their viability at stake, it claimed.

The deal will see 99,000 tonnes of South American beef allowed into the European market every year.

Meanwhile, Farmers for Action claim it was no accident that the Mercusor deal was agreed in principle just days before Jean Claude Junker, now past president of the EU Commision, Donald Tusk, now past President of the EU Council, and Phil Hogan, now past commissioner for EU Agriculture and others involved left office on the 2nd July.

FFA say described the deal as a two way street for Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay which will permit Europe, especially Germany and France to export new diesel, petrol and other cars plus many other engineered products while the Mercusor countries will export to the EU an extra 99,000 tons of beef to 102% self sufficient Europe.

William Taylor stated: “This must be the biggest farce of a deal since the EU was created. The EU cannot justify their deal when set alongside their Paris Climate Change commitments by creating massive carbon emissions building ships and fuelling them to transport beef, chicken and grain that are not required in the EU.

“On top of this Brazil continues to clear rainforest at a rate of an area the size of a football pitch per minute massively reducing the world’s ability to absorb carbon.

“Enter Northern Ireland to the debate; by importing 2250,000 tons of grains the vast majority from South America further driving Brazil’s corporate farmers to clear even more rainforest as the nutrients become depleted in their land without replacement.

“Meanwhile Northern Ireland’s grassland farmers are blamed for the surplus of chicken and pig manure that Brazil clearly needs repatriated for now. FFA says it’s time for farm organisations and decent politicians across these islands and the Europe to put the brakes on this corporate pocket filling EU supported climate change disaster of a deal,” added Mr Taylor.

“Now is the time, before the proposal goes before the council of ministers by November and before it makes its way through the new EU Parliament by the end of 2019 or early 2020, to make every attempt to stop this disaster of a deal for many EU family farmers.”