Tipperary farming: IFA says it's time to put an end to Mercosur talks

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Tipperary farming: IFA says it's time to put an end to Mercosur talks

IFA president Joe Healy and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan

With EU Commission officials in Montevideo in Uruguay this week to reconvene the Mercosur trade talks, IFA president Joe Healy said the time had come for EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan put his foot down and tell Trade Commissioner Malmstrom “enough is enough”.

He said that with major uncertainty over Brexit and only contempt being shown by Brazil in their failure to meet EU standards on imports, the time had come for Commission Hogan to shout stop on Mercosur.

Mr Healy said EU Commission president Jean Claude Juncker and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan must deliver on their commitment to put Ireland first in Brexit and ensure that there was no Mercosur deal on beef while Brexit remained unsorted.

The IFA president said the Mercosur negotiations lacked credibility and were taking place against a background where there were major political scandals and unrest in Brazil and economic meltdown in Argentina.

He said these were the big two Mercosur member states the EU were relying on to pull off a deal.

“Elections are set to take place in Brazil in October against a background of massive political corruption, deep economic recession and rising unrest,” Mr Healy pointed out.

He said the economic collapse in Argentina had seen the currency devalue in the last 12 months from 20.25 ARS to the €1 down to 44.98 ARS last week. This was a devaluation of 125 per cent and showed how ludicrous it would be for the EU to agree to any type of a trade deal with such an unstable economy, said the IFA leader.

In addition he said the Brazilian real (BRL) had devalued by 33 per cent from 3.68 to 4.90 against the €1 in the last year and the Uruguayan Peso (UYU) had devalued by 12 per cent from 33.80 to 37.80 to the €1.

IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods said: “In view of the lack of progress on Brexit and our critical dependence on the UK market for beef exports, the EU cannot agree to increased beef imports from Mercosur."