NFU CYMRU members have expressed their concerns regarding a potential trade deal between the EU and South America, which could have a damaging impact on the Welsh beef industry.
These concerns were raised during a recent NFU Cymru Livestock board meeting, where the implications of such a deal were discussed at length. A trade deal with the Memosur bloc could see 78,000 tonnes of non-tariff beef imported into the EU, from countries such as Argentina and Brazil.
This would be in addition to the l80,000 tonnes of meat that they already have a preferential access agreement for. So far, 13 member states have opposed the proposals, with the UK NFUs Brussels office asking the EU Commission to withdraw agricultural products from the negotiations until a full impact assessment has been undertaken.
NFU Cymru Livestock board Chairman, Wyn Evans said: “At a time when Welsh beef prices are already under pressure, a trade deal which could see thousands of tonnes of beef imported into Europe could have a negative impact for specialist beef production in Wales.
“Welsh farmers produce prime quality beef to world leading standards, can we be sure that the same standards are adhered to in the Mercosur bloc?
“NFU Cymru working with the other UK NFUs and COPA, are calling on the European Commission to undertake a full impact assessment before any further progress is made, to ensure that the ramifications of such a deal on the European livestock market is fully understood.”
During the meeting, board members also held a round table iscussion with representatives from the red meat processing sector and meat promotion body HCC, to consider the challenges and opportunities facing the sector over the coming months.
Wyn Evans said: “The discussions were frank and forthright, with the focus being on; prospects for the beef and Iamb market over the coming months, changes to carcass specifications and how the industry can work together to ensure that all parts of the supply chain can be profitable.
“The key message was the need for good communication across the whole supply chain, to ensure we are all working together to deliver a range of products that meet the requirements of the marketplace, that delivering a growing demand for PG1 Welsh beef and lamb”.