Tipperary farm leader Pat McCormack says Mercosur decision can avert 'catastophe' in beef sector

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Tipperary farm leader Pat McCormack says Mercosur decision can avert 'catastophe' in beef sector

ICMSA president Pat McCormack

The decision that any trade agreement between the Mercosur group and the EU will now have to be ratified by the parliaments of each individual member state has given Ireland a perfect opportunity to stop “a potentially catastrophic development for the Irish beef sector,” according to ICMSA president Pat McCormack

The ICMSA leader was referring to the statement issued after the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting which confirmed that member states will have to individually approve any proposed agreement via their own domestic ratification process.

He said that it was difficult to imagine that even a single deputy in the Dail who understood anything about the nature and existing challenges to our multi-billion euro beef exports would support an agreement designed to facilitate the importation of massive amounts of South American beef raised with lower food safety standards and produced from an environmentally destructive system.

Mr McCormack said imported South American beef would undoubtedly be sold into our existing markets at prices designed to undercut our beef exports produced sustainably under the most stringent regulatory system in the world.

The Government’s negotiating position had now been strengthened considerably and it was essential that the perfect opportunity provided to protect to our vulnerable and valuable beef sector was taken, he said.

The Tipperary farmer confirmed that, in the event of a Mercusor agreement being put to the Oireachtas, ICMSA will contact every political party, grouping and individual TD to explain why the national interest, food safety - and environmental logic - dictated that any proposed Mercosur agreement involving the importation of additional South American beef must be rejected.