July 19, 2023
“EU-Mercosur trade deal an existential threat to Irish farmers and environment” – Chris MacManus MEP

“EU-Mercosur trade deal an existential threat to Irish farmers and environment” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, has hit out at Brussels in its new attempts to force through the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement. The EU and the Mercosur bloc of South American economies now hope to finalise a trade deal this year. The news follows remarks from both the president of the European Commission and the Brazilian president who have reaffirmed their commitment to ratify the EU-Mercosur trade deal “as soon as possible”. 

The comments by European Commission and Brazilian president were made as the first summit between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries (EU-CELAC) began in Brussels yesterday.

MacManus said;

“The EU Mercosur free trade agreement is a betrayal of our farmers and the environment.”

“This agreement would allow for an additional 99,000 tonnes of beef from the South America trade association to enter the EU tariff-free. Any such deal would saturate our market at the expense of Irish farmers.”

“Outside of Europe, farmers are often held to much lower sustainability, regulatory and ethical standards, resulting in a cheaper and lower quality product that is sourced and produced unsustainably.”

“This free trade deal does nothing more than serve the interests of multinationals at the expense of the farmers, human rights and the rainforests.”

“In 2019, the deforestation was over 10,000km². That’s over half the size of my home province, Connacht. Mercosur is one of those areas where the views of farmers and environmentalists are very clearly aligned which is always welcome when it does happen. I think mutual cooperation and understanding between both is a principle and a practice that needs to be pursued by all sides.”

“It makes very little sense to be burning down South American rainforests to create farmland to in turn ship thousands of tonnes of inferior meat thousands of miles to eventually undercut our own producersThe only people this free trade agreement benefits in Europe at the end would be heavy industry, European car and machinery manufacturers.”

“Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens need to clarify where they stand on Mercosur and any free trade agreement that puts both our farmers and our environment in a weaker and more vulnerable position.”

“They need follow Sinn Féin’s lead and commit to blocking such regressive free trade agreements.” ENDS

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