Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Questions (847)

Carol Nolan


847. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the Mercosur trade deal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15972/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

A political agreement was announced in June 2019, marking the end of a twenty-year period of negotiations on the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement. The agreement is currently undergoing a process of legal scrubbing and translation, with the Commission expecting to bring the matter to the EU Trade Council in the final quarter of 2020.

The provisional application of those aspects of the Agreement which the Commission has exclusive competence for (including trade) will require the agreement of the Trade Council (Qualified Majority Voting) and ratification by the European Parliament. If agreement is secured it would see it brought in on a phased basis over six years. The formal ratification process for the wider Agreement - will require ratification by individual Member States, because it contains elements which fall under both EU competence and Member State competence. 

However, in the meantime, we have an opportunity to review the draft final report of the “Sustainability Impact Assessment” on the agreement, which was published on 8 July 2020. The Commission engaged the London School of Economics to carry out this report, which is at present undergoing thorough analysis by officials in my Department. The outcome of the study will inform Ireland’s approach to the EU Trade Council.

The EU study is being augmented at national level by the whole-of-Government review announced by former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, in collaboration with this Department, commissioned the Implement Consulting Group to carry out an Economic and Sustainability Impact Assessment (ESIA) for Ireland. This report is due in August 2020.