Ho­gan stands firm on Mer­co­sur as EU delists Brazil­ian sup­pli­ers

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - LOUISE HO­GAN

EURO­PEAN Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner Phil Ho­gan in­sisted there would be “no deal” on Mer­co­sur un­less ne­go­tia­tors are fully sat­is­fied strong stan­dards will ap­ply to all pro­duce. It comes as another round of the ne­go­ti­a­tions on Mer­co­sur got un­der way in Brus­sels this week.

“There will be no deal on Mer­co­sur un­less we are sat­is­fied there will be good stan­dards and that we will have a good san­i­tary and phy­tosan­i­tary agree­ment,” said Ho­gan, adding they needed to see “move­ment” on many of the de­mands made in re­cent ne­go­ti­a­tions with the South Amer­i­can bloc.

“There is no ev­i­dence that Brazil are se­ri­ous about do­ing a deal at the mo­ment be­cause they are in elec­tion mode. So the ball is in their court.”

He pointed out any­one who does a deal on a free-trade agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union has to ob­serve EU stan­dards as ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ued in Brus­sels this week.

It comes as the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion con­firmed that Mem­ber States had voted in favour of delist­ing 20 Brazil­ian meat and poul­try plants from the list of sup­pli­ers.

Mr Ho­gan said the delist­ing of the 20 es­tab­lish­ments “clearly shows” the con­trols and trace­abil­ity sys­tems that the EU has in place are work­ing.

Philip Tal­lon, Dawn Meats op­er­a­tions man­ager, said they re­mained “ner­vous” about Mer­co­sur.

“What we are re­ally talk­ing about is 70,000t of steaks com­ing in,” he said.

“They are com­ing in to con­ti­nen­tal EU where the likes of Ire­land need to sell their steaks in the sum­mer to max­imise the value to the car­case.”

Brazil

The IFA’s An­gus Woods said the de­ci­sion to delist the 20 plants backed up calls to re­ject any in­crease in meat im­ports from Brazil un­der Mer­co­sur.

He said the Com­mis­sion is go­ing “too easy” on Brazil.

“The only thing we have seen from Com­mis­sioner Malm­ström in these ne­go­ti­a­tions is give­away af­ter give­away of the Euro­pean meat sec­tor, with lit­tle or noth­ing in re­turn. The com­mis­sioner has al­ready ca­pit­u­lated to the Brazil­ians in these ne­go­ti­a­tions, mov­ing from an of­fer of 45,000t to 70,000t and now the Brazil­ians are look­ing for way more,” said Mr Woods.

ICMSA pres­i­dent Pat McCor­mack ( pic­tured) said the de­ci­sion to delist the plants high­lighted the “com­mer­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal ab­sur­dity” of con­tin­u­ing with the process.

He said the Com­mis­sion was an­nounc­ing that “emis­sions and sus­tain­abil­ity” must be­come even more im­por­tant in de­cid­ing CAP yet it was con­tin­u­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with a trade bloc that held “ir­re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tudes” to the en­vi­ron­ment. With both Mr Ho­gan and Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed shortly lead­ing trade mis­sions to China fol­low­ing the open­ing of the mar­ket to Ir­ish beef, Mr Ho­gan said it was “very sig­nif­i­cant” as it takes ef­fect im­me­di­ately.

“If any­thing hap­pened on Mer­co­sur, it will be in 10 to 15 years’ time,” added the com­mis­sioner.

Mr Tal­lon said the China deal is “key”, par­tic­u­larly in light of Brexit, as firms were re­luc­tant to have “all their eggs in one bas­ket”.

“It is a small step, China is open and we need to grow that and open other mar­kets. It is not go­ing to be all of a sud­den an an­swer to all our ills,” he said.

Mean­while, Min­is­ter of State for Trade Pat Breen be­lieves the new free-trade deal struck be­tween the EU and Mex­ico would ben­e­fit “agri­cul­tural ex­ports”.

“Ire­land is a sig­nif­i­cant ex­porter to Mex­ico of pow­dered milk and milk de­riv­a­tives, the re­moval of tar­iffs should boost this trade sig­nif­i­cantly,” he said.

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