Mercosur wants bigger share of EU beef market in trade deal -Argentine group

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina, Oct 13 (Reuters) - One of Argentina's biggest farm groups said Friday that South America's Mercosur should be able to export 400,000 tonnes of beef a year to the European Union under a free-trade deal the two blocs are negotiating - more than five times the EU's offer.

Luis Etchevehere, the head of the Argentine Rural Society (SRA), called the EU's proposal to lower tariffs on 70,000 tonnes of beef per year from Mercosur nations as "absurdly insufficient."

"We aspire to 5 percent of the European beef market, which is about 8 million tonnes. That is, we want...400,000 tonnes," Etchevehere told Reuters on the sidelines of a business event.

The EU and Mercosur - made up of the beef-producing South American nations Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay - had been aiming to reach a trade agreement by the end of the year.

But Brazil's chief negotiator said earlier this month that the EU's offer on access to its beef and ethanol markets was far from what Mercosur expected and would make that timeframe difficult.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)