The NFU has welcomed further delays to the EU-Mercosur talks, following the temporary suspension of Paraguay from the trading bloc.
Paraguay was suspended after its president, Fernando Lugo, was ousted in June. It is understood further discussions are set to take place following Paraguay’s election next April.
The country’s suspension allowed Venezuela to join Mercosur which the NFU believes, along with a protectionist stance from Argentina, will add more strain to the talks.
The union is concerned discussions taking place between the EU and South American trading bloc will have a disproportionate effect on beef producers in particular.
“The UK is a significant EU beef producer and the NFU still has real concerns that a deal with Mercosur would jeopardise our domestic beef industry by allowing cheap product, produced to lower standards onto the European market.”
Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman
In fact, EU farmer organisation Copa-Cogeca said the cost of the deal to EU agriculture will be €13billion, with a loss of around €3bn in value terms to European beef farmers.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “The UK is a significant EU beef producer and the NFU still has real concerns that a deal with Mercosur would jeopardise our domestic beef industry by allowing cheap product, produced to lower standards onto the European market.
“Any delay in these negotiations is to be welcomed and we will remain watchful for any moves by individual members of the Mercosur bloc.”
He said the union would now focus on helping the domestic beef industry capitalise on emerging world markets and meeting the needs of UK consumers.
“The NFU plans to address these challenges and outline a vision for the future of the beef industry with the launch of a new report at the Livestock 2012 event on September 4,” he added.
Find out more details about the Livestock 2012 event
See our interactive map of UK farm exports