Updated: 16/02/17 : 05:05:33
In the European Parliament, Independent MEP Marian Harkin voted against the proposed EU trade agreement with Canada.
She said:- “The perfect storm is gathering for the beef sector. We will have an extra 50,000 tons of tariff free Canadian beef entering the market. BREXIT will be happening which means there will be 60 million fewer consumers in the EU to use up the extra imports from Canada as well as the possibility of a hard BREXIT which would be disastrous for beef exports to the UK.
“Furthermore the study carried out by the EU Commission on the beef sector makes two very important points. First, the impact of trade deals will be greater in areas of specialised beef production. This means that countries like Ireland will be worst hit and the suckler herd will be badly impacted with a greater price fall than the current EU average price fall of up to 16%.
“Secondly this study also says that any gains in the dairy sector will worsen the impact on the beef sector with an expectation that dairy herds will expand and a greater number of extra dairy calves will come onto the market at lower prices.
“There is a lot of talk about jobs created but nobody is looking at job destruction and the enormous challenges that will be faced by the beef industry. Yes, some jobs may be gained in Dortmund or in Dublin but they will be destroyed in rural areas depending on beef production and we are refusing to face this reality.
“At the same time as the Government is drawing up plans to sustain rural Ireland, however it is signing up to trade deals that have the potential to decimate certain parts of it. The Government is not responsible for BREXIT but it’s now a reality and we must plan for it. All we hear is a chorus of jobs, jobs, jobs when it comes to the Canadian trade deal without any analysis of how it will effect different regions.
“This is a perfect storm for beef producers in an already depressed market. Dail Éireann has yet to ratify CETA, it needs to take account of the reality of the situation and deal with it’”, Marian Harkin concluded.