In this file:
· Brussels: Mercosur-EU Talks on Trade Deal to Continue
· Signs suggest EU-Mercosur trade deal on beef is ‘edging closer’
Brussels: Mercosur-EU Talks on Trade Deal to Continue
9 February 2018
Workers worry greater industrial imports can hurt national industries and employment, while environmentalists warn of more deforestation due to the cattle industry.
Trade talks between Mercosur and the European Union have closed in Brussels without an agreement. The discussions were held behind closed doors and ended without a press conference making it difficult for observers to assess what has been resolved and if any stumbling blocks remain.
A new round of negotiations on the deal will begin on Feb. 19 in Paraguay´s capital Asuncion. Uruguay’s Foreign Affairs Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa, said last week that he thinks they will be able to close a deal: “I have high expectations because there are three pillars: the political, the cooperation and the economic. The first two are almost closed, and some adjustments are necessary to close the third.”
Several reports claim the European Union agreed last week to increase beef quota from Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) from 77,000 to 99,000 tons. It is not clear if this amount will be allowed to enter without tariffs or low tariffs.
According to Argentine diplomat, Felipe Frydman, 99,000 tons represents only 1.3 percent of the European market. Last year Mercosur had demanded 390,000 tons or five percent of the EU market.
The quota comes with the expectation that Mercosur countries will ease access for European dairy products and the auto industry, as well as allowing European companies to bid for public contracts.
Beef producers in Europe opposed the previously offered import quota of 77,000 tons claiming it would hurt the national industries of France, Ireland, and Poland. It is not clear if this issue was overcome in the meeting or if it will be discussed later this month.
Currently, no Mercosur beef enters the EU tariff-free. The EU imports approximately 46,800 tons of beef from Mercosur countries, an amount established by the EU’s Hilton quota for high-quality beef which places a 20 percent tariff...
Signs suggest EU-Mercosur trade deal on beef is ‘edging closer’
By Terri Dougan, Farm Week (Ireland, UK)
February 10, 2018
LATEST proposals by the European Commission to concede further on beef in a bilateral trade deal with the Mercosur states suggests a final trade deal is imminent, Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has said.
Current proposals as put forward by the Commission would see a huge increase from the original tariff rate quota of 70,000 tonnes and, according to Mr Nicholson, will threaten the beef industry across Europe.
Commenting, Mr Nicholson said: “I have long said that the European Commission is on a precarious path, and this latest proposal suggests that the European Commission and the Mercosur states are edging ever closer to agreeing a final deal.
“The impact of any final deal will be widely felt across Europe, including the UK, and the price to be paid will be the beef industry. There is no guarantee that the European market will be able to absorb the imports of cheap South American beef, which highlights the sheer risks the European Commission is taking.
“And it was no more than a year ago that the revelations of the beef scandal in Brazil emerged, where companies were found to be selling unsafe produce and rotten meat. Back in November I hosted a hearing on Mercosur in the European Parliament and it provided an opportunity for MEPs and stakeholders to discuss the deal. Unfortunately, the concern which was widely expressed to the Commission seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
“The Commission appear to be blind...