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Union Uses European Meetings to Highlight Trade Deal Dangers to Scotch Beef

NFUS supports wider calls for Mercosur impact assessment

NFU Scotland’s Livestock committee chairman has used European platforms to highlight the danger that a flawed trade deal with South American countries could have on Scotland’s iconic beef industry.

Speaking at a Copa Cogeca meeting in Brussels today (Wednesday, 27 April), Aberdeenshire beef farmer Charlie Adam highlighted that concerns were growing that a new trade deal with the Latin American bloc Mercosur would include sensitive products like beef and that could have a serious impact on Scottish producers.

He gave his full support to last week’s call from Copa – the umbrella organisation for European farming unions - for the European Commission to urgently carry out a full impact assessment on the implications of such a deal taking place.

Mr Adam will reiterate that point when he meets with European Commission officials in Brussels tomorrow (28 April).

Copa has already highlighted the level of investment that Brazil, a key Mercosur group member, was prepared to make into agriculture.  For 2015/2016, Brazil’s agricultural budget totalled €47 billion, around a 20 per cent increase on the last budget. The Brazilian Minister for Agriculture has also decided to invest €68.5 billion in the livestock sector over the next five years in order to increase its economic value by €208 billion.

Mr Adam, who was representing UK unions at the meetings in Brussels, commented: “There is real concern amongst farmers that a flood of cheap imports could have a disastrous effect on farming livelihoods – not just in Scotland but across the EU.

“The EU has conducted an impact assessment on all trade deals currently on the table but they have not compiled a detailed report on what could happen if a deal with the major livestock-producing nations in Mercosur trading bloc goes through.

“Agriculture must not be used as a bargaining chip to throw on the table during discussion. We have thousands of farming families across Scotland and the rest of the UK who are reliant on a stable market.

“With the potential for significant price disruption being driven by cheap imports that would come as a bitter blow at a time Scottish beef prices are already considerably lower than recent years.

“The level of support provided to producers through Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy has also been reduced and that comes at a time when assistance to the cattle sector in a key beef producing nation like Brazil has been significantly boosted.”  

Notes to editors

  • Full members of the Mercosur trading bloc are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Its associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname.

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 104/16


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