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Heather Humphreys says there is 'time and space' to examine full details Mercosur deal

Update 2.20pm: Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys has said there is time and space to examine the full details of the Mercusor deal.

She said it was important to recognise that the deal “isn’t all bad” and there were benefits for other sectors.

Ms Humphreys told RTE radio’s News at One that there will be significant reduction for business in some sectors. There will have to be a complete analysis of the economic impact of the Mercusor agreement.

“We have the time and space to do that.”

The Mercusor deal is an agreement in principle and it will not be implemented for “seven to eight years,” she added.

International trade deals are important especially for a small balanced economy like that of Ireland.

“We need to go through this deal fully to see if it is good for Ireland.

“Obviously there are serious concerns.”

Ms Humphreys said she fully appreciated and recognised concerns about the deal especially for the beef industry.

There are two years to “sort out” the legal issues which will then go to the Trade Council, the European Parliament and then the respective parliaments.

She said she “honestly believed” that Brexit was a far more pressing issue.

“We need to step back and realise that we have the time to examine the full impact of the deal.”

Earlier: IFA: Mercosur deal 'another nail in the coffin' for Irish farmers

The Irish Farmers Association says the EU's newest trade deal will be another nail in the coffin for the beef sector here.

The Mercosur deal would allow for greater imports from Latin American countries to the EU, including cheaper beef.

President of the IFA Joe Healy says the increase in beef imports will be highly damaging for Irish farmers.

"It'll be hugely negative, and particularly for the beef sector - a sector that is already under pressure price wise, Brexit wise, food trend wise," said Mr Healy.

"And this is another nail in the coffin and it is something that we need to ensure that beef farmers are safeguarded against as we go forward."

Last night, the Taoiseach said Ireland will vote against the controversial trade deal if it proves to be bad news for Irish jobs and farmers.

Leo Varadkar said there will need to be an economic assessment before a decision is made.

"This would go to the trade council for a qualified majority vote in about two years time so there is a long way to go yet," said Mr Varadkar.

"What we will do now is an economic assessment of the Mercosur deal to see what impact it will have on the Irish economy and on jobs.

"If it is going to have a negative impact on the economy and jobs then obviously we will vote against it."