Ulster Unionist Party Leader Robin Swann MLA has accused the EU Commission of sacrificing its own beef sector and turning a blind eye to double standards after it agreed a trade deal with the South American trade bloc Mercosur.
Robin Swann said:
“Whilst some apparatchiks in the EU have been eagerly trying to secure this deal for 20 years I was still shocked at some parts of the deal that the EU shook hands with the Mercosur trade bloc on. The bloc comprises Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
“The reality is that no matter how we look at it this is a bad deal; it’s a bad deal for the EU beef farmer, it’s a worrying deal for the EU consumer and it’s an awful deal for the environment as it will be a huge driver for even faster deforestation.
“The deal - which will see 99,000 tonnes of South American beef entering the European market every year – is also a clear example of the EU turning a blind eye approach to double standards on crucial issues such as food quality and traceability.
“This was a calculated decision by the EU to move away from supporting its beef producers to now prioritise increasing German car sales in South America.
“Anger has rightly been building across a number of the other Member States since the deal was announced a week ago. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the deal is yet blocked, especially when the dangers of South American farmers getting a formal foothold into the European food market are fully considered.
“In the meantime I have contacted DAERA seeking urgent clarity on the matter and whether, with Brexit imminently approaching, there is a chance that at the least the UK beef market won’t be threatened or sacrificed in the same way as every other EU beef farmer has been by this deal.”