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Trade Deal No Basis for Negotiations with US

22 October 2013

IRELAND - IFA President John Bryan warned the EU Commission that they cannot repeat the market access concessions on agriculture announced in the EU-Canada last week (18 October) in their forthcoming negotiations with the USA. He said it is unacceptable that the EU Commission is allowing the agriculture sector in Europe to be used as the bargaining chip in major trade negotiations.

The trade deal announced with Canada involves the export of 30,000 tonnes of specialised EU cheeses to Canada and the importation of 45,000 tonnes of carcass equivalent beef with 50 per cent frozen and 75,000 tonnes of pork meat into the EU.

Mr Bryan said that Irish farmers and the agricultural sector are very concerned over the potential damage that increased beef imports could have on our largest farming sector.

He said, "Under this deal, the EU Commission cannot allow Canada to undermine the European beef market by cherrypicking the most valuable end of the trade with steak cuts."

The IFA President said Irish farmers have a real fear that a trade with the US, given their magnitude and scale, would have a far deeper and more damaging impact on our livestock sector.

Mr Bryan pointed out that there are substantial differences between the food safety and production standards in Europe and North America.

He warned the EU Commission that European producers and consumers will not accept food imports from production systems where the use of hormones in beef, BST growth promoters in milk and the beta-agonist drugs such as ractopamine in cattle and pigs – all banned in Europe – is common practice.

He said, "Europe cannot agree to any imports which fail to meet EU standards on the critical issues of food safety, traceability, environmental protection and animal welfare."

While the EU-Canada trade deal is more balanced that initially proposed, the EU Commission must implement strict monitoring procedures to ensure that the increased imports of pork and beef are over a long number of years and fully meet the terms and standards agreed.

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