Polish meat sector unhappy with EU-Mercosur agreement

Poland is not supportive with the signing of EU-Mercosur agreement.

Market experts in Poland are of the opinion that EU-Mercosur agreement is unfavorable for the Polish meat sector, especially Polish poultry and beef. Meat is the main category in the structure of Polish food exports. The main advantage of Polish meat exporters is high price competitiveness, not a brand. Countries associated in Mercosur are significant producers and exporters of food. They have significant cost advantages when it comes to agricultural production due to more favorable natural conditions, and  less strict regulations regarding environmental protection and food production methods. Hence, the expectations that in the case of the entry into force of the agreement there will be a further deepening of the EU food trade deficit with these countries.

The poultry industry argues that the EU poultry sector meets the most strict requirements at every stage of production in accordance with the idea of ​​"from field to table", which allows it to maintain confidence to  consumers for the safety and quality of poultry provided by European producers. The most concerns are towards Brazilian poultry. Although Brazilian poultry goes directly to Poland in limited amounts, the main recipients in the EU are the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, from where meat is re-exported to other countries. The greater presence of much cheaper Brazilian meat in the EU may threaten the position of Polish poultry, the vast majority of which goes to EU markets. Therefore, it is totally unacceptable to grant Brazil additional export quotas to the European Union, in particular that there is compelling evidence gathered by the European Commission that the Brazilian producers have failed to comply with the EU standards. In addition, the admission of more poultry from Brazil to the EU market may raise objections of millions of EU consumers who should have access to information about the origin of food, not only bought in shops, but also offered in restaurants. Most of the meat imported from Brazil is used by restaurants, bars, or canteens or goes to processing plants, so it is not subject to the obligation to indicate where the raw material comes from. This means that consumers will not be aware that they consume poultry produced in conditions incompatible with EU standards – explained the Polish National Council of Poultry. In a similar vein as the poultry industry, the Beef Sector Board in Poland expressed its concern about the EU-Mercosur agreement. The increased presence of Brazilian and Argentinean beef in the EU will undoubtedly be a challenge for the Polish beef industry, because 90 % of beef sent abroad, Poland sells on the EU market.