Farmers across Europe face losses of up to €3bn if plans to ease trade rules between the European Union and South America go ahead.

Figures from the European Commission said liberalising trade between the EU and the Mercosur group of Latin American countries could cause farmers to lose out on trade worth between €1bn and €3bn.

The sums, which were detailed in a leaked impact report, are based on the result of current negotiations and on the assumption that concessions to the talks will be made on both sides.

The losses detailed in the latest evaluation echo previous assessments which suggested the trade agreement could wipe billions of Euros from European agriculture.

The livestock sector – in particular beef and poultry – is expected to be worst hit.

The figures came as EU and Brazilian leaders pledged to push for an ambitious Free Trade Agreement as part of the Mercosur talks.

Following a trade summit in Brussels on Tuesday (3 October), Commission president Jose Barrosso said it was important to reach an “ambitions and balanced agreement” between the sides.

“We need an agreement which would, obviously, safeguard the specific interests & sensitive areas that exist on both sides,” he said.

Despite opposition to the plans from agricultural quarters across Europe, trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the EU would “have to make concessions” to advance an agreement.

He said it was vital progress was made in an agreement which he said would see European GDP raise by almost €7bn and bilateral exports double.

“We are at a delicate stage of negotiations,” he added. “It is important that those of you who stand to gain from such a trade deal are vocal in your support.”