West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

TTIP a danger to beef industry

Published: 21 October, 2015

Declan Mc Aleer MLA pictured with DARD Minister Michelle O Neill and Glenelly Cllr Dan Kelly.

Declan Mc Aleer MLA pictured with DARD Minister Michelle O Neill and Glenelly Cllr Dan Kelly.

Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) poses many threats to our agriculture industry including the beef sector. Mr McAleer said, "I raised the potential negative impact on the local meat industry posed by TTIP today at the DARD committee during a briefing from the President and Executive Director of the NI Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA) Campbell Tweedie and Conall Donnelly. "During the meeting NIMEA spoke of the challenges facing our meat industry and the importance of opening international markets such as the USA and China. "While I support and commend the Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill on developing new markets I am cautious on the impact of TTIP on Irish farmers including the beef industry. "I highlighted my concern about the ongoing discussions around TTIP and the requirement of TTIP for 'regulatory convergence', which effectively would require the EU to lower their standards. "In the US it is commonplace for processed food to contain genetically modified ingredients, the use of growth hormones is permitted and there are less stringent rules around the use of pesticides. "The introduction of TTIP will be a disaster for Irish beef producers because, due to the unregulated environment across the Atlantic, their US counterparts do not have to bear the same costs of production. "The beef industry here has worked very hard to build up a reputation for high quality and traceable meat. "The opening up of the market to the USA through TTIP could result in the market being flooded by lower quality and lower priced beef which would have a detrimental impact of the local farming industry. "I am calling on NIMEA to reject any trade agreement through the TTIP mechanism so we can protect the future of the beef industry here."