Mercosur deal analysis to be published this spring

Mercosur deal analysis to be published this spring

The long-awaited Economic and Sustainability Impact Assessment for Ireland of the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement is to be published this spring.

In a statement to the Farming Independent a spokesperson for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment confirmed that the independent report is at an “advanced” stage.

The assessment will inform Ireland’s position on ratifying the deal which has been strenuously opposed by the country’s farm organisations.

“Work on the Economic and Sustainability Impact Assessment (ESIA) on the EU-Mercosur Agreement is well advanced.

“The report will be published once it has been received and considered by the Government, which is likely to be in the first quarter of 2021.

Pending receipt of the report and subsequent considerations by Government, the Department said it was not in a position to comment on draft findings of the assessment.

‘Disgraceful sell-out’
On June 28, 2019, the EU and Mercosur states – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached political agreement on a trade deal after 20 years of negotiations.

The agreement will allow for an extra 99,000t of beef from the South American bloc to be imported into Europe levy free. The additional beef will be 55pc fresh and 45pc frozen and will enter the EU with a 7.5pc tariff. The volume will be phased in over six equal annual stages.

As the deal is subject to ratification by the EU’s member states, farm organisations have repeatedly called on the Irish Government to reject the agreement, lambasting it as “a disgraceful sell-out” of Irish beef on quality and environmental grounds

Speaking to this publication last September, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “Before we ratify this agreement, I think we need to agree a set of guarantees which strengthen environmental protections, particularly with regard to the Amazon rainforest and climate action.

“These guarantees would be enforceable as part of any final Mercosur agreement. I would be wrong to ask Irish farmers to embrace stringent measures on the one hand, while significant damage continues to be inflicted on the Amazon rainforest.”

The ESIA report – which costs €200,000 to complete - consists of two components: an analysis of the potential economic, social, human rights and environmental impacts that the agreement could have in Ireland and the Mercosur countries; and a consultation process with all relevant stakeholders.

Key issues covered by the analysis include: impact on agriculture, especially beef and dairy sectors; impact for small and medium enterprises; impact for consumers, particularly regarding consumer choice and prices; and direct and indirect impacts, particularly economic spill overs for third countries.

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