In January 2020, my Department, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, commissioned independent consultancy firm, Implement Consulting, to undertake an Economic and Sustainability Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the EU-Mercosur Agreement following a competitive tender process.
The ESIA will consist of two equally important and complementary components, namely a comprehensive analysis of the potential economic benefits as well as a robust sustainability impact assessment (including social, human rights and environmental impacts) that the trade Agreement could have in Ireland and the Mercosur countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Wide-ranging stakeholder engagement has been undertaken by the Consultants as part of the Impact Assessment.
In line with commitments in the Programme for Government, the ESIA is designed to assist Government in formulating its position on future ratification of the Agreement and it is my intention, working in conjunction with the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, that Government will have the ESIA available to us to assist our decision-making on the Agreement ahead of the European Commission presenting the Member States with the legally-proofed texts of the Agreement which we anticipate will be in Spring next year.
Work by the Consultants on the ESIA is well advanced with my Department informed that the bulk of the research has been completed.
It is my intention that the Report will be published once it has been received and considered by the Government, which is likely not to be in the first quarter of 2021.