MEP Mairead McGuinness, who is also a member of Fine Gael, believes Ireland needs to asses the EU-Mercosur deal in greater detail while it is still being considered by the European Parliament. Both the EU and the South American bloc, made up of Argentina, Paraguay Brazil and Uruguay, need to finalise the agreement text before it is sent to the other EU member states for approval. Some Irish farmers have shared concerns the deal will flood the market with cheap beef from South America countries.
If Ireland has doubts and rejects the deal, this could put a spanner in the works for the entire agreement.
Ms McGuinness told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “I think we must resist at the moment while we assess the detail of it.
“We can have it both ways because it hasn’t gone through the process.”
The deal, which has been negotiated for around 20 years, was finally agreed this week.
The EU has agreed to accept 99,000 tonnes of South American beef into its market each year.
The deal also covers other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, services, machinery and food.
This includes importing 180,000 tonnes of poultry into the EU and 25,000 tonnes of pig meat.
Irish farmers are unhappy as lobby groups have been saying the beef element of the agreement could cost the Irish meat sector up to €750million each year.
Governing party Fine Gael is said to be fighting against the EU trade deal.
Ms McGuinness added there is a lot of frustration in the party over the deal.
She said: “There’s a huge frustration around this.
“Having talked to colleagues here, MEPs were also concerned about this deal.
“But there is real concern at the timing as beef farmers confidence is at a very low ebb.”
Ms McGuiness highlighted the US was showing concerns about the trade deal too.
She said: “The US has just this week announced tariffs that it might impose on European agricultural produce I met the Under Secretary of State last week in Brussels, Ted McKinney.
“He was very clear in his message to me that they were not happy in how Europe was dealing with the US.
“We have in Europe signed many good agreements that help agriculture, Mercosur is a particular worry and an alarm bell.”