It’s expected that the EU and Canada will sign off on their new trade agreement at this month’s G8 summit in Fermanagh. Canada aims to export 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes of beef to the EU every year under the terms of the arrangement. The EU has said that the maximum allowed in will be 40,000 terms. Even this maximum set by the EU would cause serious harm to our nations beef industry and cannot be tolerated.
Recent figures from the IFA suggest that the Irish cattle and sheep sectors support 100,000 farmers as well as 50,000 other jobs in the wider economy. Farm families spend €8 billion per year in our economy. It’s vital that we safeguard what is an essential industry for our island state and prevent EU global politics from destroying the recent fine work carried out by groups like the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation and the IFA to build a better national bovine herd.
Ireland is the fourth biggest beef producer in the world. We produce eight times more beef than we can use and much of this is imported to our neighbours in the EU. The last thing our beef sector needs is to see the market being flooded with Canadian imports. This industry is worth €2 billion a year to the Irish economy so it’s not just beef farmers who will suffer if this deal goes ahead.