The free trade agreement between the EU–Mercosur, which is currently immersed in the sixth round of negotiations, would have a very negative impact on 20% of our final livestock production, causing losses of 2,700 million euros per year. This is reflected in the Impact Study prepared by the COAG Technical Services based on the official data to which this organization has had access on the main concessions that are considered during the rounds of negotiations.
According to the agrarian union complaint, the most affected sectors would be beef, pork, sugar beet and certain fruits and vegetables, due to the unfair competition of the productions of the Mercosur countries, which resort to the use of growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides banned in the EU for some time.
COAG has already repeatedly demonstrated its frontal opposition to this agreement, considering that it endangers the sustainable European agricultural model and the food security of EU consumers
In that sense, the secretary general of this agrarian organization, Miguel Blanco, has recalled the scandal of adulterated meat in Brazil, led by several companies, among which are the most important in the sector, which adulterated the meat they sold in the internal and external market. “Recently Russia,” he added, “has also decided to suspend imports of beef and pork of Brazilian origin by detecting banned substances (ractopamine and other growth hormones in livestock).”
Regarding the impact on the agricultural sector, the head of this organization has highlighted a figure that illustrates in itself the brutal damage to community livestock: “a tariff-free tariff quota like the one that is shuffled for beef, 78,000 tons, would mean (in carcass weight equivalent) a total of 2 million suckler cows, which is more than the total number of heads of Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary , Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden together. It is unacceptable that the livestock sector be handed over in exchange for cars and facilities for large construction companies in public tenders”, said Blanco.
At present, Mercosur is already the main exporter of agricultural commodities to the EU, so COAG considers that additional quotas free of tariffs are not needed to increase its exports. In 2016, the EU imported € 19,528 million in Mercosur agrifood products, which represents 17.4% of the total. By contrast, European agricultural exports to the Mercosur geographical area barely exceeded € 2,000 million (1.5% of the total).
Almost 80% of beef imported by the EU and close to 70% of animal feed products imported by the EU come from Mercosur (of which two thirds come from Brazil alone)
“It is striking that the current Minister of Agriculture of Brazil, Blairo Maggi, owns 240,000 hectares of soybeans for export. Experience tells us that this type of free trade agreements ends up benefiting the large estates and the economic elites of both parties to the detriment of small and medium-sized farmers“, pointed out the General Secretary of COAG.
COAG, together with the Platform against the TTIP and the CETA, has denounced during the last years the pernicious effects of the free trade agreements of the EU for the social model of agriculture, (majority in Europe and our country), vital for guarantee quality, food security, preservation of the environment and development of rural areas.
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