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UK beef farmers will lose out on EU-Mercosur trade deal, says NFU


EU negotiators must recognise that a trade deal with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur has the ability to seriously affect EU beef production, the NFU has warned.

A study published last week by Copa, the umbrella organisation for farming unions across Europe, revealed trade liberalising talks could see a significant contraction in the EU beef sector.

NFU livestock board chairman and Vice President of the COPA Beef Group, Alistair Mackintosh, has responded to the report by urging EU trade negotiators not to give any new concessions to the Mercosur bloc when they meet for round-table discussions in Brussels next week.

Farmers are rightly concerned about the possible impact on the market of this trade deal, said Mr Mackintosh. The real concern is that we will export our industry abroad to countries that do not meet our high standards of production in terms of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection.

The Commissions own Food and Veterinary Office inspection visits to Brazil have highlighted deficiencies in key areas such as traceability, disease control and the continuing use of growth promoters. UK farmers are producing to, and in many cases exceeding, high EU standards and any imports must also comply with the same standards. In addition the EU is pushing the boundaries on poultry welfare and greenhouse gas emissions, yet these standards will not be met throughout the Mercosur bloc.

The EU has a duty to insist that any additional market access it grants is done on the basis of meeting the same standards of welfare, environment and traceability that we currently meet. Until the Mercosur bloc meets our same standards, no concessions should be made.

The NFU is the voice of British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members.

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