MEP Tour over Mercosur Trade Deal29 October 2012
UK - Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has travelled to Brazil and Paraguay on a six day inspection tour of abattoirs, marts and beef farms to go and see for himself the implications of the EU-South American free trade agreement negotiations.
By the European Commission's own economic impact assessment, opening the doors of the EU to unrestricted South American beef imports will mean a EUR 7.75 billion a year hit for EU producers, leading to a dramatic shift in trade. The trip has been organised by Nuffield Scholar Rog Wood and will generate credible evidence of the real world issues which need to be addressed in the talks in order to ensure fairness and maintain high standards.
Previewing the tour, Mr Smith said: "Once we get CAP reform past us, the biggest single issue facing European Agriculture other than climate change is the MERCOSUR trade deal, so this trip will be vital in seeing exactly what the reality is on the ground.
"I'm all for free trade, but not at any costs and it is vital we maintain our own indigenous food production infrastructure. Food security is a vital part of our national security and we cannot allow ourselves to become dependent upon foreign imports. Europe's farmers have, rightly, to meet high standards of animal welfare and our citizens demand that imports meet the same high standards.
"I go with an open mind, and am grateful to Rog for organising the trip. I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open throughout the tour and I'll be documenting what I see and hear to present to the European Commission so that their talks with the MERCOSUR trade bloc is as informed as possible."
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