Warning over ‘flood’ of South American beef

Beef farmers are concerned about the threat of South American imports. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
Beef farmers are concerned about the threat of South American imports. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
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The threat of large volumes of South American beef coming into Europe has seen NFU Scotland highlight the dangers such a trade could have on Scotland’s beef industry.

Speaking after a meeting in Brussels, Aberdeenshire beef farmer Charlie Adam said concerns were growing if the new trade deal with the Latin American bloc Mercosur included products like beef.

Adam supported the call from Copa – the umbrella organisation for European farming unions – for the European Commission to urgently carry out a full impact assessment on the implications of such a deal.

READ MORE: Jim McLaren forecasts better times for livestock sector

Copa has already highlighted the level of investment that Brazil, a key Mercosur group member, was prepared to make in agriculture. For 2015-16, Brazil’s agricultural budget totalled €47 billion (£36.5bn), around a 20 per cent increase.

The Brazilian minister for agriculture has also decided to invest €68.5bn in the livestock sector over the next five years.

Adam commented that a flood of cheap imports could have a disastrous effect on farming livelihoods – not just in Scotland but across the EU.

“The EU has conducted an impact assessment on all trade deals currently on the table but they have not compiled a detailed report on what could happen if a deal with the major livestock-producing nations in Mercosur trading bloc goes through,” he said.