French cheered by ICMSA for decision on Mercosur deal

They might have beaten our rugby team at the weekend but the French have been warmly thanked by the President of the ICMSA, Pat McCormack, for taking the decision to decline to ratify the Mercosur trade agreement with four South American countries until certain guarantees concerning the protection of the environment and health are applied.

The French have indicated that unless ‘tangible and objectifiable’ guarantees in these areas are included, the agreement will not be signed.

“Not for the first time, we see France having the courage to insist that conditions and standards that are unhesitatingly asked of, and imposed upon, its farmers are at least met by the farmers of those nations wishing to trade with it. Other EU member states now need to publicly endorse the French position and indicate that they will be unwilling to even consider progressing the draft trade agreement until such time as solid and verifiable guarantees are supplied and verification procedures – to be independently carried out – are agreed,” he said.

New entrants must be accommodated in SWS

It is imperative that the issues concerning new entrants to the Sheep Welfare Scheme are resolved now that the reference year of 2017 has been successfully negotiated with the EU Commission, the chairman of the IFA’s National Sheep Committee, Sean Dennehy, has affirmed.

Minister Charlie McConalogue is to be applauded in getting the reference year matter clarified but new entrants to the Scheme continue to suffer from not having their sheep numbers accurately recognised, he said. “The scheme conditions, which require new entrants to apply effectively within a year of starting creates an anomalous situation that unfairly penalises them. This can and must be addressed in the Terms and Conditions of the scheme for 2021,” he said.

Because it takes time for all new entrants to establish their production bases, certain elements of this deficit must be taken into account.