SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has said there is growing concern over the potential impact of the proposed EU-Mercosur trade deal will have on local farmers and the environment. The SDLP party spokesperson on farming and agriculture was speaking after the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, faced questions in the Dáil about the trade agreement.
Mr McGlone said, “There is growing concern about the potential impact of the proposed EU-Mercosur trade deal will have on local farmers.
“While it has still to be officially ratified the current proposed agreement will open the EU market for agriculture products, and beef, in particular, to large scale producers in South America at preferential tariffs.
“The importation of cheaper beef from such large operations risks distorting an already precarious marketplace for local producers across the EU. The result of which would be to drive small scale family farms here on the island of Ireland out of business due to a lack of return on their investment in production.
“The proposed trade deal between the EU and South American countries also represents the exportation of responsibility for the impact of food production on the environment and on global climate change.
“At the very moment at which the public is demanding that governments take action on climate change, EU states are signalling their intention to abdicate responsibility for the global impact of future food production.
“The SDLP does not support the EU-Mercosur trade deal as it is currently proposed.
“We will be calling on the Irish Government, and local MEPs, to oppose this bad deal for farming and the environment.”