Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson will host a hearing in the European Parliament on 7th November on the implications a trade deal with the “Mercosur” bloc of South American countries would have for Europe’s sensitive agricultural sectors.
Speakers will include experts from the sector, the European Commission and senior MEPs from the Agriculture Committee.
Mr Nicholson said: “Talks between the EU and Mercosur have moved on at a fast pace over the past number of months, so it is especially vital that MEPs and national governments make clear to the European Commission that sensitive EU agricultural sectors - particularly meat - are adequately protected.
“This is a particularly bad time to consider opening up the EU market to meat from Brazil. Earlier this year, the Brazilian meat scandal hit the headlines, with allegations that some Brazilian companies had been selling unsafe produce, including substandard beef.
“Across all the prospective EU free trade agreements on the horizon at present, it is vital that we get fair deals for local agriculture - after all, it is highly likely that these agreements will be used as templates for our own UK free trade agreements once we leave the European Union.
“I am delighted to be hosting this hearing in Brussels next month. It is an opportunity for MEPs and stakeholders across Europe to assess the challenges a Mercosur deal may bring, and to send a clear message to the Commission that Europe’s sensitive sectors must be defended.”