Written Answers - World Trade Negotiations.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 665 No. 3

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  60.  Deputy Liz McManus  Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus   asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith   his views on sensitive produce status for Irish beef by the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37454/08]

[659]Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  The final decision as to what products will be declared as sensitive in the context of a trade deal in the World Trade Organisation has not been made. However, at this stage there is a recognition by EU Member States and other trading partners that beef and, indeed, poultry will almost certainly be declared as sensitive, with a number of other products under consideration. The actual selection process of sensitive products at EU level will be carried out in association with Member States, following agreement within the WTO negotiation on the level and treatment of such products. Ireland’s position in relation to which products should be declared as sensitive has been arrived at following consultation with our stakeholders, including the producers and processors.

The mechanisms and detailed rules for the treatment of sensitive products are still under discussion in the WTO negotiations. Under the current proposals the selection of beef as a sensitive product would reduce the tariff cut by two thirds to 23%. In compensation for this reduction, the EU would be required to establish a tariff rate quota for beef imports of the order of 290,000 tonnes at much reduced rates of duty.

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