A severe warning to the European Union about agreeing to a new trade pact with the Mercosur group of Latin American countries has been issued by Copa-Cogeca, the pan-European federation representing farm cooperatives.

EU and Mercosur representatives are due to meet in mid-March to discuss an agreement to liberalize trade in various products between the two communities. Latin American countries are known to want greater access to the market in Europe for their food products, while the Europeans are keen to export more technology and services to Latin America. But Copa President Padraig Walshe and Cogeca President Paolo Bruni have sent a letter to the EU’s administrative commission, saying a new study had concluded that a pact on trade would cause a huge rise in pork, poultry and maize imports into Europe from the Mercosur countries as well as adding to price volatility and potentially leading to a total collapse of the EU beef sector. At the same time, imports from these countries failed to meet EU standards.


According to the Copa-Cogeca leaders, a further liberalization of trade with Mercosur would make the EU more dependent on imports for supplies of grain and meat and Europe’s food security would be affected increasingly by climatic conditions or by political decisions on agriculture in these countries. Moreover, an agreement would double the level of carbon dioxide emissions and there were also still concerns about safety aspects of meat production in these countries, such as traceability and the use of hormones.