Beef no longer a part of Mercosur deal

News that South American beef will no longer be a part of the Mercosur negotiations has been welcomed by industry bodies.

EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan confirmed that beef will not be part of the current Mercosur trade deal negotiations, following a meeting between the commissioner and the National Farmers Union (NFU) Cymru.

NFU Cymru has spent recent months urging the Commission directly to review its negotiations, highlighting the potential negative impact that this deal could have on beef production in Wales.

NFU Cymru president Stephen James said the announcement was reassuring for the Welsh beef sector. NFU Cymru has had major concerns with regard to the impact that nearly 80,000 tonnes of additional non-tariff beef could have on beef prices across the EU.

In Wales we pride ourselves on the production of high-quality beef, produced to world-leading standards, and we were concerned that this was going to be undermined by a flood of imports that might not have been produced to the same standards.

Other topics for discussion during the meeting included the need for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to be simplified.

The revelation that beef is now being made exempt from the trade deal has also been welcomed by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).

IFA president Joe Healy urged Irelands minister for foreign affairs and trade, Charlie Flanagan, to make it clear to EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrm that beef should not be reintroduced into negotiations at any stage. Beef is a vital national interest for Ireland and under no circumstances can we allow the EU Commission to use it as the bargaining chip in the Mercosur negotiations.

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