Thursday, 19 July 1973
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. J. Gibbons: asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if, in view of the decision of the EEC Council of Ministers to restore full duties should there be, as is imminent, a drop in the wholesale price of cattle, he will immediately seek exemption from duties for Irish cattle entering Europe.
Mr. Clinton: The Council of Ministers this week discussed a proposal by France that the scarcity regulation, which suspends levies and compensatory amounts and halves import duties, should be terminated because the Community market price had fallen below 106 per cent of the Community guide price. The Council decided that should the Community market price fall below 103 per cent of the guide price in any week prior to the expiry date of the scarcity regulation—that is, 16th September—that regulation would be automatically terminated.
I advocated that in the case of Ireland the provisions of the scarcity regulation should continue to apply even until 16th September but this proposal was not acceptable to other member countries. Accordingly, if the Community market price should fall below the trigger point of 103 per cent of the guide price the transitional import charges against Ireland which are provided for in the Treaty of Accession will become operative.
The termination of the scarcity regulation will restrict the large supplies of frozen beef which have been coming into the Community from third countries and the consequent strengthening of Community market prices should help to counterbalance the increased charges on imports from Ireland.
Mr. J. Gibbons: Would the Minister not realise that this country is being unfairly treated as a member, in view of the fact that a special arrangement has been arrived at between the EEC and Yugoslavia which will enable the importation to Italy of young feeder cattle free of duty while at the same time we, a member country, will be obliged possibly to pay the full 16 per  cent duty on imports in Europe? As another undesirable by-product of this decision, as Mr. Godber said recently in Westminster, the useful contacts and markets that we have been opening in the Continent may have to be abandoned because of the existence of this. Does the Minister therefore not consider that, as a matter of urgency, he should take up the unfair treatment of this country, as a member country vis-à-vis the treatment of Yugoslavia?
Mr. Blaney: Is it now clear that the Minister did nothing about this situation in regard to the levies and so forth? Is it a fact that we can do nothing further about what is tantamount to attacks on the export of calves from this country? Can we take it also that there is one thing we can do to close the gap which has been now created, and that is, would the Minister give some help to the cattle industry through the subsidy scheme that was reduced some time ago?
Mr. J. Gibbons: I wish to give notice that I intend to raise the subject matter of this question on the adjournment next Tuesday, not that I have any objection to the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, but because it is a very complex question that we cannot properly discuss——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy may not do that just now but I would advise him to raise that matter on the Order of Business on Tuesday. The remaining questions will appear on the Order Paper for the next sitting day.
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