Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s description of the EU-Canada Trade Agreement as an historic victory for his country should serve as warning that the detail could reveal that it is anything but beneficial to Ireland’s agricultural sector.
This was stated by Marian Harkin MEP when she contended that while there would be significant benefit for traded goods and services from the EU into Canada the access to be given for the importation of prime beef cuts into the EU could pose a serious threat to Ireland’s beef sector.
She continued; “The objective of the EU has been to conclude trade agreements with Canada and the USA which favour access to those markets for industrial goods and services. Ireland’s general interests in these respects may be served by the agreement, but the access being provided to the EU market for Canadian prime beef exports poses a serious threat to the incomes of Ireland’s beef producing farmers.
“Ireland is the EU’s largest exporter of beef and its price structure is hugely influenced by the value of prime cuts sales to the EU which feeds back significantly to the price farmers get from meat processors. This is a serious issue for Ireland’s €2 billion beef export trade and for the farmers who depend on it. The Minister for Agriculture must immediately assess the consequences of this deal in the context of the 2020 Food Harvest objective of increasing beef production by 20% over the rest of the decade.
“Having done this the Minister must bring forward proposals to ensure that any adverse effects of this EU-Canada trade agreement are offset by measures to underpin the beef production and export business which is central to Ireland’s economic recovery”, Marian Harkin MEP concluded.