Carthy negotiates strong AGRI response to EU trade deals
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has welcomed the stronger than previously approach to Mercosur negotiations by the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) Committee.
Speaking following a crucial vote in the committee recently, Carthy said:
“As one of the negotiators of the final text, I am pleased to see a growing number of MEPs now acknowledging the dangers that Sinn Féin have been conveying in relation to EU free trade deals.
“The report, titled “Harnessing Globalisation: Trade Aspects” will now be transmitted to the European Commission for consideration.
“The text that was adopted by AGRI MEPs contains some of the strongest wording we have seen so far from this Committee. This should serve as a warning sign to the European Commission that there is diminishing popular support for the Mercosur trade deal and others that will cause huge difficulties for Irish and EU agriculture.
“Any EU-Mercosur trade deal will eventually have to be approved by the European Parliament, so it is important that Commission negotiators pay attention to the concerns of MEPs representing the Agricultural sector now, or concede to the whole deal falling through later down the line.
“The text that I helped to negotiate recognises that European farmers should not be exposed to competition with products that do not have to comply with the same food safety, consumer protection, animal welfare and environmental standards.
“There are many sectors that are already sensitive in the sense that they have been crisis-hit or are exposed to extreme price volatility. These products should be excluded from the scope of negotiations.
“Specifically with regard to Mercosur, the Report adopted in the AGRI Committee this week warns that there will be a direct downward pressure on prices should this deal go ahead. The cumulative impact of this and other deals are setting the sector up for disaster, and it is time the Commission stopped pressing full-steam ahead on a potentially ruinous deal.
“The message we are now sending could not be stronger. Remove sensitive sectors from the negotiations or scrap the deal altogether.
“The time for these back room and secretive trade-offs between sectors must stop.
“While it is welcome that we have succeeded in convincing AGRI MEPs of the need to take a stronger position on EU trade deals it is deeply worrying that the Irish government remains among the commission’s chief cheerleaders on this aggressive and dangerous EU trade agenda. It is time for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to support Irish farmers and the Irish economy by calling a halt to these trade negotiations, especially in advance of Brexit, considering the uncertainty that remains regarding the future relationship between the EU and our largest trading partner”.