At a major Seminar held by Copa-Cogeca in European Parliament today, Copa-Cogeca, together with Primary Food Processors, warned MEPs of the catastrophic impact on the EU agriculture sector of a potential agreement in the trade liberalising talks between the EU and Latin American Trade bloc Mercosur. Impacts of a potential deal on the EU meat, sugar, fruit juice and maize sectors were presented at the high-level Seminar which was hosted by MEPs Mr Jean-Pierre Audy and Mr Michel Dantin. The event brought together EU farmers, agri-cooperatives and primary food processors.
The move came as the Commission met the Mercosur countries for negotiations in the trade talks this week. Speaking at the Seminar, Copa President Gerd Sonnleitner warned “Based on demands made by the Mercosur countries in 2006, a study carried out by Copa-Cogeca reveals that there would be losses to the EU agriculture sector of up to 13 billion euros. And this does not even look at the impact on employment in EU rural areas where job losses are likely to be huge given that the EU agriculture sector provides for 28 million jobs in EU rural areas”.
He continued: “The same study shows that Mercosur is already a major exporter of agriculture and food products to the EU, with 86% of our beef imports and 70% of our poultry meat imports coming from these countries. They also provide over 50% of our vegetable protein needs. Moreover, they currently export over and above their existing tariff rate quotas, showing that they do not need additional quotas tariff free to increase their trade to EU. If a deal were to go ahead, the EU would become dependent on one external source for its food security needs, making it dependent on climatic or political decisions from these countries”.
He added: “A bilateral trade deal would also not be complimentary to an agreement in the Doha round of world trade talks, which would already be costly to the EU agriculture sector. It would come on top of it. A new study released by the Commission acknowledges that there would be huge losses to the EU agriculture sector as a result of a deal, and that all EU countries would be impacted by the new tariff free quota. Furthermore, these imports do not meet the EU’s high environmental and quality standards and there are still concerns about safety aspects of meat production in these countries such as traceability”.
Source: Copa-Cogeca Press Release