From the outset, Ireland consistently raised concerns about the very negative impact that an agreement would have on the EU’s agriculture sector, and particularly the beef sector.
Ireland’s concerns during the negotiations were substantiated by economic analysis conducted by, or on behalf of, the European Commission (2011 assessment undertaken by Copenhagen Economics, and 2016 Cumulative Impact study by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre) and by comprehensive assessment in November 2017 by Teagasc, which included impact modelling of alternative TRQ volumes for beef.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, in conjunction with my Department, also commissioned Copenhagen Economics in December 2017 to undertake a study of the economic impacts and opportunities of recent and prospective EU-Third Country Free Trade Agreements for Ireland.
Now that political agreement has been reached between the EU Commission and Mercosur, Minister Humphreys will be commissioning a full economic and sustainability assessment to measure its impact. My Department will assist with that exercise.