Ireland’s parliament expressed opposition to the European Union’s draft free-trade agreement with Mercosur in a non-binding vote that signals potential resistance to the deal in other parts of the EU.
Irish lawmakers approved a motion to reject the EU trade pact with the South American group of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay with the support of most opposition parties. The minority government did not support the motion. The verdict doesn’t commit the government to oppose the agreement, which EU governments as a whole will vote on in the coming year or two, but it shows the parliament’s concerns about greater import competition for Irish farmers.
Farming groups are particularly concerned about a possible influx of Brazilian beef into the EU. The deal is a “sell out,” the Irish Farmers’ Association said ahead of the vote.
The agreement is “not a done deal,” Ireland’s agriculture minister Michael Creed said earlier this week. “The beef element of this trade proposal is challenging for our agrifood sector. In the period ahead where we move to a legal document, there will be opportunities to influence that.”