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Alyn to go on MERCOSUR beef inspection mission

SNP Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith is, this Friday, leaving Europe for Brazil and Paraguay on a 6 day inspection tour of abattoirs, marts and beef farms to go and see for himself the implications of the EU-South American free trade agreement negotiations.

By the European Commission's own economic impact assessment, opening the doors of the EU to unrestricted South American beef imports will mean a EUR 7.75 billion a year hit for EU producers, leading to a dramatic shift in trade.  The trip has been organised by Nuffield Scholar Rog Wood and will generate credible evidence of the real world issues which need to be addressed in the talks in order to ensure fairness and maintain high standards.

An edited programme of the tour is below.

Previewing the tour, Alyn said:

"Once we get CAP reform past us, the biggest single issue facing European Agriculture other than climate change is the MERCOSUR trade deal, so this trip will be vital in seeing exactly what the reality is on the ground.

"I'm all for free trade, but not at any costs and it is vital we maintain our own indigenous food production infrastructure.  Food security is a vital part of our national security and we cannot allow ourselves to become dependent upon foreign imports.  Europe's farmers have, rightly, to meet high standards of animal welfare and our citizens demand that imports meet the same high standards.

"I go with an open mind, and am grateful to Rog for organising the trip.  I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open throughout the tour and I'll be documenting what I see and hear to present to the European Commission so that their talks with the MERCOSUR trade bloc is as informed as possible.

"I've found throughout my time in the European Parliament, if I sit in Brussels waiting for the world to come to me I'll wait a fair while. There's no substitute for getting my hands dirty and seeing things as they are and I look forward to the trip."

SATURDAY 27 October
Arrive from Strasbourg at Sao Paulo, transfer to Campo Grande

SUNDAY 28 October
Campo Grande surroundings
Inspect pedigree beef stud and cattle farm
Meeting with FAMASUL Officials

MONDAY 29 October
Campo Grande - Porto Murtinho (433km)
Inspect two beef farms en route

TUESDAY 30 October
Porto Murtinho - Paraguay (208km)
Inspect two beef farms en route as well as border security

WEDNESDAY 31 October
Bonito - Pantanal de Miranda (141km)
Inspect beef processing unit and Mart

THURSDAY 1 November
Panatal de Miranda - Campo Grande (202 km)
Inspect two beef farms en route
Meeting ACCRISSUL officials

FRIDAY 2 November
Campo Grande surroundings
Further inspections

SATURDAY 3 November
Depart for Paris for Brussels Monday morning