As you are aware, the Taoiseach joined the leaders of France, Poland and Belgium on 17 June in writing to Commission President Juncker expressing our concerns regarding the potential inclusion of sensitive agricultural products in the EU-Mercosur negotiations which were, it seemed at the time, coming close to conclusion and which were, in fact, concluded on Friday, 28 June.
The letter outlined a shared Irish, French, Polish and Belgian position that:
- the quotas for sensitive agricultural products would not increase,
- the agreement includes guarantees concerning compliance with sanitary, phytosanitary, animal welfare and environmental standards,
- the certification and control of quotas is imported on the importer’s side, and
- the segmentation of quotas between high value beef parts and other beef parts is achieved
The Taoiseach, and other leaders, also sought reassurances that in order to mitigate any possible negative impacts on the agricultural sector, an ad hoc safeguard mechanism would be implemented.
While a written response has not yet been received to this joint letter, I understand from the Commission that a reply is intended to issue in due course. In the meantime, of course, the EU Commission and the Mercosur countries have concluded the negotiations and we continue to work with the Commission to fully assess the detail in the proposed Agreement.