Mandelson attacked over WTO talks

EU commissioner for trade Peter Mandelson came under attack for failing to consult EU farm ministers ahead of world trade talks.

Malcolm Thompson, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association, told the FUW conference that the WTO negotiations were not on the agenda for the remaining Council of Agriculture meetings before the talks in Hong Kong.

He said there was now no forum for farm ministers to have a worthwhile input into the EU’s agricultural strategy at WTO.

Mr Mandelson has failed to defend the decoupled model, has lost ground on sensitive products such as beef and done nothing to volume limitations on how much beef could enter Europe.

“He has disastrously conceded that there should be higher tariff rate quotas for sensitive products, which means he is willing to allow extra volumes of South American beef in at special, miniscule tariff rates,” Mr Thompson said.

“This position makes a mockery of the whole concept of sensitive products, which was meant to be a key demand of the EU negotiators.”

Mr Mandelson seemed intent on destroying the industry and had sold it half way down the river.

He also blamed the UK presidency for acting with reckless disregard for the future of agriculture across Europe.