EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement.

Dame_Enda

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The terms of the agreement with respect to agriculture have already been criticised by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. The Irish Farmers Association says the agreement has "sold out" Irish and EU farmers and will lead to a flood of cheaper beef imports with low tariffs. The agreement would also open up EU procurement to Latin American companies with central government, and do the same for EU companies with Mercosur member state governments. The EU already exports €20 billion to Mercosur each year, which has a population of 780 million.

Should the government oppose the agreement at the European Council? Should Irish MEPs support or oppose it?

.....
Speaking after the announcement, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said that while Ireland was generally supportive of international trade deals, he was “very concerned at the potential impact of elements of this particular deal on the beef sector”.

“I am very disappointed that this agreement includes a significant tariff rate quota for South American beef, at a time when the beef sector in Europe is facing significant uncertainty because of Brexit,” he said.

We have made concerted efforts over a long period of time, to minimise the EU offer in terms of beef and while evidence of these efforts appears to have been reflected in the final offer, I am, nonetheless deeply concerned at the potential impact on the Irish beef sector.
“There may be some opportunity for other agri food sectors such as dairy and for the drinks industry, but we will need to examine the text carefully to assess the full impact.”

The trade pact is the largest ever concluded by the EU and it is estimated it will save European companies more than €4 billion worth of trade duties every year, as well as create a market of about 780 million people.


..
It next goes to the European Council and the European Parliament for ratification.

Given the character limit (10.000) is insufficient to quote the entire agreement, I will post some a summary from the EU website to facilitate discussion:

1. Tariffs on 91% of imports into Mercusor from the EU to be abolished including:

Europa.eu said:
Cars (taxed today at 35%)

o Car parts (taxed at 14 to 18%)

o Machinery (taxed at 14 to 20%)

o Chemicals (taxed up to 18%)

o Clothing (taxed at up to 35%)

o Pharmaceuticals (taxed at up to 14%)

o Leather shoes (taxed at up to 35%)

o Textiles (taxed at up to 35%)

The agreement will also progressively eliminate duties on EU food and drink exports, such as:

o Wine (taxed today at 27%)

o Chocolate (taxed at 20%)

o Whiskey and other spirits (taxed at 20 to 35%)

o Biscuits (taxed at 16 to 18%)

o Canned peaches (taxed at 55%)

o Soft drinks (taxed at 20-35%)

The agreement will also eliminate import duties on 92% of Mercosur goods exported to the EU.

The agreement will also progressively eliminate duties on EU food and drink exports, such as:

o Wine (taxed today at 27%)

o Chocolate (taxed at 20%)

o Whiskey and other spirits (taxed at 20 to 35%)

o Biscuits (taxed at 16 to 18%)

o Canned peaches (taxed at 55%)

o Soft drinks (taxed at 20-35%)

The agreement will also eliminate import duties on 92% of Mercosur goods exported to the EU.
2. Procurement. The Agreement allows EU and Mercusor companies to bid for contracts with central authorites in each others countries, and between Mercusor countries and EU institutions.

3. Environment. The Agreement commits the EU and Mercusor to the Paris Climate Agreement, the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization fisheries management measures and regional agreements to manage fisheries.

4. Labour rights. The Agreement promises both sides will comply with the International Labour Organisation's "fundamental standards covering subjects such as freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour and non-discrimination...Both sides commit not to derogate from or fail to effectively enforce labour and environmental legislation to encourage trade or investment and to promote responsible business conduct and corporate social responsibility, in line with United Nations and OECD principles and guidelines....."

5. E-commerce.
The agreement contains general rules regarding e-commerce that aim to remove unjustified barriers to trade made by electronic means, bring legal certainty for companies and ensure a secure online environment for consumers, with their data being appropriately protected.
6. Geographical Indications: "
The EU is a major producer of distinctive high-quality regional food and drink products such as Prosciutto di Parma, Champagne, Port wine, and Irish whiskey. These products enjoy a special status; their names are protected 'Geographical Indications'.

Under the agreement, Mercosur will protect 357 European Geographical Indications for wines, spirits, beers and food products. The EU will also protect the names of traditional Mercosur products such as Cachaça (a Brazilian distilled spirit) or Mendoza wine from Argentina.
7. Intellectual Property:
..
The EU and Mercosur recognise that protecting Intellectual Property Rights and trade secrets is important for fostering innovation and creativity and for ensuring that their respective industries stay competitive.

The agreement includes solid provisions covering Intellectual Property Rights on copyright, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications and plant varieties. The section on Intellectual Property Rights also includes comprehensive provisions on the protection of trade secrets.
...
"
8. Involving civil society:
The agreement gives civil society a prominent role in its implementation, including on the provisions on trade and sustainable development. The EU and Mercosur will keep employers' and workers' organisations, business organisations, environmental interest groups and others informed of how they are implementing the agreement. At both national level and in a Joint Forum set up for the purpose, these civil society groups will be able to voice their views and provide input to discussions on how the trade part of the agreement is being implemented.
9. Bilateral safeguard mechanism:
.....The agreement includes a bilateral safeguard mechanism. It allows the EU and Mercosur to impose temporary measures to regulate imports in the event of an unexpected and significant increase in imports, which causes, or threatens to cause, serious injury to their domestic industry. These safeguards also apply to agricultural goods. .....
10. Dispute Resolution. The EU website claims:
The agreement puts in place a fair, efficient and effective mechanism to solve disputes that may arise regarding the interpretation and application of its provisions. Among other things it includes independent panellists and due process and transparency involving open hearings, the publication of decisions, and the opportunity for interested parties to submit views in writing.

The mechanism will ensure that the EU and Mercosur fully implement their obligations under the agreement so that businesses, workers and consumers can enjoy its benefits.
 
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Lagertha

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Substandard beef from badly abused animals in countries with appalling animal cruelty records, yeah great move from Brussels but can't come as a surprise to anyone really. As for minister Creed, he's a C U N T of the highest order.
 

truthisfree

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It would seem that the EU having access to a huge market for cars and technology in exchange for agri goods is the only way we can open trade to Mercosur. The South American bloc looks like it is very much based on the EU formula, very good to do trade deals with them. The Farmers have recently got the Japanese market so it balances out surely?
 
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recedite

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This deal will be very good for Germany, and very bad for Ireland.
German consumers will get cheaper beef in their supermarkets, and the big German exporters of cars and chemicals will get a sales boost.

It will be interesting to see whether Leo vetoes this move at EU council of ministers level, or whether he submits to the will of the meister.

The usual trick is not going to work this time - announcing that he is in favour of a vote, then going over to Brussels to vote the way he was told to vote, and then coming back here to tell us that his side won the vote, thanks to his great influence.
 

hiding behind a poster

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This deal will be very good for Germany, and very bad for Ireland.
German consumers will get cheaper beef in their supermarkets, and the big German exporters of cars and chemicals will get a sales boost.

It will be interesting to see whether Leo vetoes this move at EU council of ministers level, or whether he submits to the will of the meister.

The usual trick is not going to work this time - announcing that he is in favour of a vote, then going over to Brussels to vote the way he was told to vote, and then coming back here to tell us that his side won the vote, thanks to his great influence.
If EU member states always vetoed trade deals on the basis that they didn't get everything they wanted, how many trade deals would the EU get to complete?
 

wombat

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If EU member states always vetoed trade deals on the basis that they didn't get everything they wanted, how many trade deals would the EU get to complete?
I suspect it won't get to a veto, the EU parliament will hardly approve a treaty which involves clearing rain forest to raise hormone filled beef?
 

hiding behind a poster

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I suspect it won't get to a veto, the EU parliament will hardly approve a treaty which involves clearing rain forest to raise hormone filled beef?
Is that actually the case though?
 

hiding behind a poster

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If you think the Brazilians will stop cutting rain forest to increase beef production, you're in a minority.
Well then they're already cutting it, so it's not like this agreement causes it to happen. Having said that, it is quite possible the deal will be rejected, there's probably more protectionists in the Parliament now.
 

wombat

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Well then they're already cutting it, so it's not like this agreement causes it to happen.
At a time when the EU are paying EU farmers to look after the environment and when Irish farmers are being told to cut back on cattle numbers, its pretty silly to increase importing beef from Brazil.
 

Dame_Enda

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Illustrates dangers of having the Commission negotiate when deals could be dead in the water anyway - a lesson also applicatory in my opinion to the Brexit deal which has still not been ratified by the European Parliament.
 

wombat

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Illustrates dangers of having the Commission negotiate when deals could be dead in the water anyway
Its their job to negotiate on behalf of the EU, all treaties have to be approved by parliaments, the skill is negotiating treaties that will be approved.
 

Dame_Enda

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Its their job to negotiate on behalf of the EU, all treaties have to be approved by parliaments, the skill is negotiating treaties that will be approved.
It resembles the problems the US is having ratifying USMCA because the EU repeated the mistake of having an executive that is separate from the legislature.
 

Tacitus

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German consumers will get cheaper beef in their supermarkets, and the big German exporters of cars and chemicals will get a sales boost.
Well, meat consumption has been going down anyway in Germany, with the surging Green advocating a vegetarian (or even vegan) lifestyle due to health and enviromental reasons. Those who would buy cheap beef in ALDI (and cheap meat in general) are usually poorer Germans, who are not so big fans of the Greens and would not in any case be able to buy high-quality beef from Ireland. So Ireland will likely be less affectes by it than some people fear.
 

silverharp

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i had some nice argentianian beef in portugal recently , very tasty
 

hiding behind a poster

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At a time when the EU are paying EU farmers to look after the environment and when Irish farmers are being told to cut back on cattle numbers, its pretty silly to increase importing beef from Brazil.
Yeah but presumably there's tradeoffs elsewhere. I'm sure there'll be a populist narrative involving the usual bogeymen about this deal, but like all deals it's not perfect but probably good on balance.
 

hiding behind a poster

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It resembles the problems the US is having ratifying USMCA because the EU repeated the mistake of having an executive that is separate from the legislature.
Would you prefer an executive drawn from the legislature?
 

hiding behind a poster

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Illustrates dangers of having the Commission negotiate when deals could be dead in the water anyway - a lesson also applicatory in my opinion to the Brexit deal which has still not been ratified by the European Parliament.
Ah come on now FT - you know full well that it doesn't go to the Parliament till the Brits ratify it. You're quite fond of misrepresenting EU matters, why's that?
 


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