Ireland's position in the EU-Mercosur negotiations has been consistent and well-known. We have strenuously opposed any agreement that would have negative consequences for the Irish and EU agriculture sectors, particularly the beef sector.
The results of the 2011 EU Commission Impact Assessment confirmed that, under all scenarios, there would be significant losses in the agriculture sector, particularly the beef sector in Ireland.
In November 2016, the European Commission carried out an analysis of the potential cumulative impact of twelve current and pending trade deals, including EU-Mercosur. The study showed particular vulnerabilities for the beef sector, which under specific scenarios could see EU beef imports increase very significantly, with a corresponding destabilising impact on the EU beef market.
I will continue to press for a balanced deal that safeguards our beef sector. I will continue to place particular emphasis on the EU’s own cumulative impact assessments of trade deals on agriculture and the potential impact of Brexit on an already delicately balanced EU beef market.
I have recently written to Commissioner Hogan expressing my deep concern about the potential impact of any concessions on beef on the sector in Ireland and the Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, have also written to their counterparts in the Commission.