THE president of ICMSA has welcomed 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.
Pat McCormack is happy that this will give Ireland ‘a perfect opportunity’ to stop what described as ‘a potentially catastrophic development for the Irish beef sector.’
He was referring to the statement issued after the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which confirmed that Member States will have to individually approve any proposed agreement with the group of South American states, via their own domestic ratification process.
Mr McCormack said that it was difficult to imagine that even a single deputy in the Dáil 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.
The ICMSA president said that the 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 has now been strengthened considerably and it was essential that the perfect opportunity provided to protect our vulnerable and valuable beef sector was taken.
Pat McCormack 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 absolutely rejected.