The Mercosur trade deal agreed between the European Union and four South American countries - Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay - includes very detailed rules and regulations agreed covering wide range of areas.

These include details of tariffs, rules of origin for goods and services, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosantiary measures, services, government procurement, intellectual property, sustainable development, as well as small and medium enterprises.

The European Union is Mercosur's largest trade and investment partner and its second biggest trade in goods partner.

A total of 20.1% of the bloc's exports in 2018 went to the European Union. 

Last year the European Union exported €45bn worth of goods to the four South American countries. 

€42.6bn worth of goods from the Mercosur countries was imported into the European Union.

Europe's biggest exports to Mercosur include machinery, transport equipment, and chemical and pharmaceutical products.

Mercosur's biggest exports to Europe are agriculture products such as foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco, vegetable products including soya and coffee, and meat and other animal products.

The EU exported €23bn worth of services to the South American trading block in 2017 while about €11bn worth of services came from Mercosur into Europe.

Earlier this week the IFA president, Joe Healy, said the deal is a sellout of EU values.

He said it is reckless of the European Commission to agree to a trade deal that would see tens of thousands of tonnes of substandard beef from Brazil and other South American countries come into the European market.

He also said that allowing a sharp increase in Brazilian beef at very preferential tariff rates into Europe was to throw the EU beef sector over a cliff.

The farm leader accused the European Commission of utter hypocrisy by agreeing to a trade deal with a Mercosur trade group that has no regard for standards, the environment and labour laws.

He said the EU was intent on giving the Brazilian Prime Minister Bolsonaro free licence to continue destroying the environment.

Brazil and Argentina between them have 283 million cattle.

The IFA also argues that the deal is bad for European consumers because Brazil and other South American nations fail to meet EU standards on the key issues of traceability, food safety, animal Health, and environmental controls.

The IFA referred to research conducted by the EU Commission Joint Research Centre which they said shows that beef imports from Mercosur countries into Europe would rise dramatically and drive EU beef prices down by 16%, costing the European beef sector as much as €5bn a year in revenue.

The potential impact on Irish farmers according to the IFA could be a loss of between €500 and €750m.