Tag Archives: Trade

ICSA deplores “apparent bullying” of Wallonia over opposition to Canada-EU trade deal

‘Quota for 50,000 tons of beef when Irish farmers seeing beef price in freefall.’

‘Given the uncertainty around Brexit, the last thing we need is more beef being imported.’

Sligo News File Online.

The President of the ICSA has hit out at what he says is “the apparent bullying” of Wallonia because of its opposition to the CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU.

Canada, EU, Trade, Deal
Patrick Kent, President.
ICSA. ‘Huge disappointment over apparent bullying of Wallonia’

Expressing “huge disappointment” over the seeming pressure being placed on the region, Patrick Kent said the outcome is that “Belgium is now accepting that the deal will go ahead.”

He said:

“Wallonia raised very important points about how the deal is damaging to EU beef farmers and also correctly challenged the investor dispute mechanism.

“CETA will involve a quota for 50,000 tons of beef at a time when Irish farmers are seeing beef price in freefall. Given the uncertainty around Brexit, the last thing we need is more beef being imported. It is clear that the EU market does not have the capacity to absorb it and it will lead to further downward pressure on price.

“Irish beef farmers are under immense pressure, and the implementation of CETA will further undermine their viability.

Protests against CETA and TIPP in Germany
Protests against CETA and TIPP in Germany

“Worse, perhaps, is that CETA is a blueprint for a TTIP deal with the USA. It beggars belief that the EU would stubbornly press ahead with these trade deals that offer absolutely no upside to the EU beef farming sector when there is so much uncertainty about markets.”

The ICSA “is now again calling for all trade deal negotiations to be frozen until such time as Brexit negotiations are concluded, and the nature of the EU/UK trading arrangements are clear.

“It must be remembered that the UK could also do another, separate deal with Canada, USA or South America which would multiply the impact on our beef exporting sector.

“The Irish government needs to immediately wake up to the threat from all of these trade deals and instead of criticising Wallonia, we should have listened to them,” he said.

Canada, EU, Beef Trade

Minister under fire on future of Irish beef industry

Fianna Fail demand fresh government action on worsening crisis in beef sector.

The government is facing fresh pressure to tackle issues surrounding the crisis imperilling the future of the country’s beef trade.

Speaking following a meeting of meat processors and representatives of the farming industry in Carrick-On-Shannon earlier this week, Fianna Fail Senator, Marc MacSharry said the government’s “head in the sand” approach to the crisis must not be allowed to continue.

He said “A series of tangible initiatives must now be pursued to address the crisis so a fairer return for the farm families of Ireland can be achieved.”

Senator MacSharry said that while it was acknowledged the problem was of a nationwide reach the situation had been “further exacerbated in Connaught/Ulster counties where holdings are smaller, winters longer and land is of poorer quality.”

Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, he said “has recently reiterated his hands off approach by calling for little more than supermarkets, processors and farm organisations to communicate with one another.

“If this is the extent of the minister’s vision for the industry then I fear for our export trade.

“We need a hands-on, pro active minister who is prepared to get on a plane and personally engage with decision makers in the relevant sectors to grow our beef export markets and potential.”

He said that at this week’s meeting it was agreed Fianna Fail representatives “will meet with individual processors and supermarket multiples to persuade them to relax the four movement rule and prohibitive treatment of so-called nomadic cattle.

“This will enhance cross border trade where a 30% exchange rate uplift can give northern buyers bigger spending power while securing good value for good quality animals.

“The move would increase competition and consequently give a better return to farming families in the south.

“The multiples need to be made aware of the need to pass their margin back to the farmer through the processor. Currently, the farmer to consumer price differential is between 325 and 1,550%.

“It is surely reasonable for farmers to receive a fairer return for their efforts.”

The senator said it was also agreed at the meeting to identify all international markets which currently restrict the import of Irish beef of under 30 months and proactively seek to meet ambassadors of each of the countries to have the age limit raised to at least 48 months.

“The 30 month restriction is a BSE era legacy which is no longer necessary with the eradication of BSE.

“To date, engagement on this issue is superficial between Irish authorities and their counterparts in other markets with potential for Irish beef export growth. A more hands-on and proactive role must be taken by Minister Coveney and his government.

“We must also begin the process of seeking to have beef produced north and south of the border marketed as an all island product rather than of mixed origin. It will be difficult and  require inter agency, state and department unanimity on regulatory and quality controls together with appropriate global marketing.

“This would ensure that the international buyers recognise product from the island of Ireland as the safest and best. It would also help the market on both sides of the border.

“The head in the sand approach to Ireland’s beef crisis must not be allowed to continue.”

The senator said it was is clear from the department’s Market Access Document that “the superficial approach of merely sending emails to seek improvements to current restrictions will never produce the necessary results.

“We need,” he said, “a hands-on, pro active minister who is prepared to get on a plane and personally engage with decision makers in the relevant markets to grow our beef export markets and potential.”