Union warning as Mercosur talks resume

Friday, 14 September, 2018

Ulster Farmers’ Union, beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney, says the European Commission president, Jean Claude Juncker, and the farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, must ensure there is no Mercosur deal on beef while Brexit remains unresolved.  This comment came as Commission officials hold talks in Uruguay with their opposite numbers from the South American countries that are in Mercosur.

 “Farmers in Northern Ireland work hard to maintain world-leading production standards.  These reflect consumer concerns about animal welfare, food safety and the environment.  Local farmers have invested to make sure they deliver what consumers want and this cannot be ignored or set to one side by Brussels.”  He added that these standards do not apply in South America, warning that the big players there, led by Brazil, would use the weakness of their national currencies to mount an export drive into Europe.

 “No one is opposed to international trade deals.  Farmers realise the global opportunities potentially available to our industry.  But we cannot support trade negotiations taking place on an uneven playing field that sacrifice European agriculture for the supposed wider benefits for the eurozone of free trade with South America,” said Mr Chesney.