25 May 2022

Beef farmers being sacrificed by Commission's flawed trade policy

Tipperary's IFA national treasurer Tim Cullinan hints at going for top job

IFA President Tim Cullinans

IFA president, Tim Cullinan said the EU Commission must address the serious contradictions and lack of policy co-ordination under the Green deal, CAP and trade policies.

“Commissioner Wojciechowski admitted to MEPs that of all the sectors considered in the Cumulative Impact Assessment on EU Free Trade Agreements, the beef sector stands out as the most affected,” he said.

The study, conducted by the EU’s Joint Research Centre, updated the European Commission’s Assessment from 2016 and looks at the impact of 12 EU Free Trade Agreements with partner countries with modelling conducted out to 2030. The report estimates the beef sector to reduce production by 0.5%. (tonnes)

“Under the Green deal, the EU is driving up costs and wants organic production standards at conventional prices, while at the same time under trade deals, the Commission is importing beef that fails to meet EU standards and would be illegal to produce in the EU,” said Mr Cullinan.

He said the Mercosur trade deal cannot progress and the existing access granted to beef not produced to our standards, including environmental, societal, traceability and animal health and welfare must be stopped.

IFA national livestock chairperson, Brendan Golden said the full benefits of the strong supermarket trade for beef in the UK and throughout the EU is undermined by the acceptance of these substandard products.

UK supermarkets over the Christmas period increased beef sales by 1.4k/t or 18%, but Irish beef farmers are not seeing the full benefits of this as a result of the flawed and contradictory EU policies on trade.

He said this clearly highlights the dysfunction of the EU beef market caused by the double standards of policy makers who continue to ignore how beef is produced in these countries, while increasing demands on Irish beef farmers.

Mr Golden said the EU Commission cannot defend current or future trade agreements when by 2030, beef imports into the EUcould increase by up to 100,000t, reducing beef prices for Irish and EU farmers.

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