The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association (ICMSA), has said the very first item the newly appointed EU Chief Trade Enforcement Officer (CTEO) must deal with is "multiple aspects of the trade deals permitting the importation of South American beef".

According to Pat McCormack, the importation of South American beef "does not so much flout EU regulations and rules, as directly contradict them".

He said that farmers "throughout the EU – and further afield – would watch the progress of this appointment with huge interest".

McCormack described the appointment of Frenchman Denis Redonnet to the new position as one that had "the potential to transform the basis on which trade deals with the EU were concluded and monitored".

"Potentially, this appointment of Redonnet is a game-changer in terms of the basis and willingness of the EU to demand and insist that the kinds of commitments to sustainability and environment that they rightly demand of their own farmers are also recognised and observed by the states and groups with which they negotiate trade deals.

"For far too long, farmers have had to look on as the EU applied the most breath-taking double-standards that left its own farmers practically unable to turn around without acknowledging the environmental impact," the ICMSA president argued.

'Shocking discrepancy'

"The ICMSA...has repeatedly noted this shocking discrepancy between the principles the EU insists its own farmers observe, and the speed with which the EU is willing to put those principles aside when it comes to concluding shocking deals like the Mercosur agreement," he added.

"This is the EU’s chance to show that the standards that they insist upon for their own farmers are going to be the standards they insist upon for anyone it deals with.

"It’s been a very long time coming, but it’s here now and Redonnet begins his work with our best wishes and our close attention to his first pronouncements," McCormack concluded.