Serious doubts voiced over Mercosur talks

Europe’s farm leaders have expressed serious doubts about the EU free trade negotiations with Mercosur, pointing out that 70% of EU poultry meat imports already come from the countries concerned, with no need for further tariff-free incentives to be introduced.

Claiming that recent studies suggest the EU farm sector could lose in excess of €7 billion (£5.5bn) from such a deal, Copa-Cogeca raised the issue in Luxembourg this week, when as many as 20 member state farm ministers warned the European Commission (EC) against making an offer on agriculture which includes sensitive agriculture products as part of the free trade talks with Mercosur.

“They (Mercosur member countries) do not need extra tariff-free quotas to increase their trade to the EU,” said Cogeca president, Thomas Magnusson, adding that little of the EU’s beef, for example, is being let into “their countries” at present.

He also said the proposed imports do not meet the EU’s high environmental and quality standards, raising concerns about the safety aspects of meat production in these countries, including traceability.

“The EC also promised ministers it would come up with an impact assessment before proceeding with an offer,” he added, “which it has failed to do.”

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