UFU President heads to Mexico for meeting of international farm bodies

Tuesday, 8 October, 2013

As part of his new role as a Vice President of the European Farm Organisation COPA, Ulster Farmers’ Union President Harry Sinclair will be in Mexico this week attending a meeting of the North American and European Union farm bodies. 

Speaking before leaving Northern Ireland, Harry Sinclair said; “With little or no progress being made on the Doha Round of World Trade negotiations, many countries and groups of countries have been looking to negotiate bi-lateral arrangements outside of the overall WTO arrangements. Potentially one of the most important trade negotiations is that between the USA and Europe, which formally kicked off several months ago and there are other on-going negotiations with Canada as well.”

Mr Sinclair continued; “In these wider negotiations, agricultural trade issues can often be forgotten as the negotiators strive to reach agreement around the large manufacturing sectors, the financial and other services sectors. In Europe we need to work very hard to keep the interests of our agricultural trade to the fore so that it is not sacrificed in a deal which may help other parts of the economy. For example, we would like to see markets opening for our dairy products but at the same time the red meat industry needs to be protected from imports that have not been produced to the same standards as that required by EU consumers and legislation.”

The UFU President will be chairing a session on world trade negotiations in Mexico with the debate likely to be robust as there are some quite distinct differences between the European and North American approach to farm trade. The other key areas which will be considered at the meeting are a review of agricultural policy developments in the two regions, non tariff concerns in the trade negotiation process and the challenges to increasing global food production on a sustainable basis given the issues around climate change and water scarcity.