Europe should not allow the Mercosur trade deal to take place, instead, Ireland should “lead the way” in producing beef for Europe, according to Farmers’ Alliance spokesperson Helen O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan argues that the deal, which would permit an additional 99,000 tonnes of beef from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay to enter the EU without tariffs, would be detrimental to Ireland. Concerns have been raised by member states, including Ireland, about deforestation in Brazil and the potential impact of imports on the EU beef market, leading to a delay in the ratification of the deal. However, the presidents of the European Commission and Brazil have expressed their commitment to ratifying the EU-Mercosur trade deal as soon as possible.
O’Sullivan accuses the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, of being hypocritical by rushing to ratify the deal despite the EU’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The Farmers’ Alliance claims that von der Leyen wants to put European farmers out of business by allowing Brazil to export 99,000 tonnes of beef to the EU without tariffs. They question why von der Leyen thinks it is acceptable for Brazil to cut down the world’s forests for beef production while imposing restrictions on European production due to climate change.
Last month, a new EU regulation came into effect, requiring certain goods, including beef, exported or placed on the EU market, to be “deforestation free.” Companies will need to confirm that their products have been produced on land that has not experienced deforestation or forest degradation after December 31, 2020. Operators and traders have 18 months to implement these new rules, and the European Commission will assess countries’ risk of deforestation.
The Farmers’ Alliance spokesperson criticizes the Mercosur trade deal as it would result in Ireland contributing to global emissions by importing products from South American countries. O’Sullivan highlights that Irish beef, due to the grass-based system, is the most environmentally sustainable in the world. She questions why anyone would want to replace this with unregulated and untraceable beef from thousands of miles away. Instead, she argues that Ireland should lead the way in beef production for Europe and beyond, as it is the most sustainable, regulated, and traceable producer. O’Sullivan believes that by doing so, Ireland can reduce global emissions, create employment, and have a healthy population. She urges against using Irish beef as a sacrificial lamb in the trade deal.
In conclusion, Farmers’ Alliance spokesperson Helen O’Sullivan argues that Ireland should take the lead in beef production for Europe, rather than allowing the Mercosur trade deal to proceed. She highlights concerns about deforestation in Brazil and the potential impact of imports on the EU beef market. O’Sullivan criticizes the rush to ratify the deal, questioning the European Commission’s commitment to carbon neutrality. She emphasizes the sustainability and traceability of Irish beef and calls for Ireland to be at the forefront of beef production, reducing global emissions and creating employment. The Farmers’ Alliance spokesperson urges against sacrificing Irish beef in the trade deal.