Dáil Éireann - Volume 279 - 16 April, 1975

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - GATT Talks.

10. Mr. Wilson asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the areas of interest to Ireland in the GATT talks in Geneva; and if he will make a statement on the progress of the talks.

Mr. Keating: I assume that the Deputy is referring to the so-called “Tokyo Round” of multilateral trade negotiations. These negotiations have only just begun, in accordance with a decision taken at a recent meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee of GATT. In view of the number of countries participating in the negotiations and of the range and complexity of the issues involved, it is not expected that any real progress will be made before July when the Trade Negotiations Committee meet again to review progress and plan future work.

The areas of greatest interest to Ireland in these negotiations are agriculture, non-tariff barriers, safeguard measures and tariffs. In regard to agriculture, our main concern is to ensure that the principles and mechanisms of the EEC's common agricultural policy are maintained.

It is our interest to have the greatest possible elimination or liberalisation of [1771] non-tariff barriers. As to safeguard measures, we will be seeking measures which will allow us to take quick and effective action in cases where difficulties arise due to a sudden increase in imports.

It is in our interest to have the greatest possible harmonisation of tariffs. This would mean that the countries with the highest tariffs would make the biggest tariff cuts, giving us a balance of advantage from the export point of view.