Fury over EU plans to up South Amer­i­can im­ports

The Scotsman - - Weather / Farming - By BRIAN HEN­DER­SON bhen­der­son@farm­ing.co.uk

UK politi­cians and non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions pre oc­cu­pied with Brexit need to waken up to the four- fold threat from an EU deal which could see South Amer­i­can beef flood into Europe.

The warn­ing was made in the wake of ru­mours that the EU was set to weaken its stance on beef im­ports in the cur­rent trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Mer­co­sur trad­ing block.

Claim­ing that, as well as putting farm­ing liveli hood sin jeop­ardy, any of­fer to in­crease the im­port quo­tas for beef from these coun­tries would have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on Euro­pean food safety, an­i­mal wel­fare and the en­vi­ron­ment, UK f arm­ing unions have called on politi­cians not to ig­nore the is­sue.

NFU Scot­land live­stock pol­icy man­ager John Ar­mour said that, while there was still no firm in­di­ca­tion ex­actly how tariff rate quo­tas ( TRQS) would be shared out af­ter Brexit, such a deal would have con­sid­er­able ram­i­fi­ca­tions for UK beef pro­duc­ers both be­fore and af­ter the UK left the EU. “What­ever the fi­nal Brexit deal looks like, Scot­tish farm­ers will still be im­pacted if detri­men­tal de­ci­sions are made in Brus­sels,” he said.

But UK politi­cians were taken to task by Ul­ster Farm­ers Union pres­i­dent, Bar clay Bell who said: “There has been much fo­cus of late on calls made by UK politi­cians and NGOS to in­crease en­vi­ron­men­tal and an­i­mal wel­fare reg­u­la­tions in the UK, post Brexit.

“How­ever, these po litic ian sandNGOs are nowhere to be seen nor heard in the de­bate around the se­ri­ous threat posed by the Mer­co­sur trade nego - tia­tions.”

He said that South Amer­i­can coun­tries did not come close to match­ing the food safety, an­i­mal wel­fare or en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards which farm­ers com­plied with in the UK and across Europe.

“It is scan­dalous that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is pre­pared to of­fer Mer­co­sur in­creased con­ces­sions to ex­port sub­stan­dard agri­cul­tural prod­ucts such as beef into the EU.”

While no fig­ure had been re­leased by t he com­mis­sion, it is un­der­stood that they were con­sid­er­ing al­low­ing an ex­tra 100,000 to 130,000 tonnes of beef into the coun­try on top of the ex­ist­ing 58,000 tonne quota.

“Farm­ers in the UK com­ply with world lead­ing stan­dards so it seems com­pletely hyp­o­crit­i­cal for UK politi­cians and NGOS to want to keep rais­ing the bar for UK farm­ers but yet ac­cept much lower stan­dards for in­fe­rior prod­ucts ex­ported from South Amer­ica which canul ti­mately end up in the UK,” said Bell.

0 Mer­co­sur deal ‘ a threat to Scot­tish beef pro­duc­ers’

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