Concerns for beef and pig industry following EU-Canada trade deal

Thursday, 24 October, 2013

Ulster Farmers’ Union President Harry Sinclair has raised concerns over a landmark trade deal between the EU and Canada, which could have significant implications for Northern Ireland’s beef and pig industries, and has warned that this must not set a precedent for the EU-US trade talks. The trade deal, agreed last week, will allow Canada to export large volumes of fresh and frozen beef meat and pig meat to the EU. While in comparison, Canada has conceded access to its cheese market.

Harry Sinclair continued; “I am very disappointed that the EU Commission appears to have sacrificed agriculture in these general trade talks with Canada. It is well known that the EU demands a high level of production standards, traceability, and food safety and it will therefore be the responsibility of the EU Commission, EU Parliament, and the EU Agriculture Council to ensure that when the final deal is done these EU standards are upheld. It would be a step backwards to allow imports on to our supermarket shelves that do not meet the standards demanded by EU consumers and it would undermine our farmers, who work tirelessly to produce top quality, traceable, and safe food. It is imperative that the EU Commission put strict monitoring procedures in place to ensure that the beef meat and pig meat imports are to the standard agreed and that these imports do not flood the market all at once.

“It should not be underestimated what this could mean in the bigger picture. The EU-US trade talks are currently under way, and what message is this sending them? We cannot afford for the EU-Canada trade deal to be held up as a precedent. The EU Commission must remember that across Europe agriculture is a vital part of many Member States’ economies and it is something that should be protected, rather than carved up in trade negotiations.”