Dáil Éireann - Volume 351 - 12 June, 1984

Written Answers. - Cypriot Potatoes.

616. Mr. Coughlan asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state to whom his Department designate import licences for Cypriot potatoes; the specific date [757] each application for import licences was made; the requested tonnage per licence; the number of applicants who were successful in obtaining import licences; the areas where these Cypriot potatoes were distributed; and who approved or otherwise each application.

617. Mr. Coughlan asked the Minister for Agriculture the quota the Department of Agriculture request for the importation of Cypriot potatoes; the rate of import duty applied to the quota; the rate of duty applied to imported potatoes from Cyprus which were over the quota; and if all imported Cypriot potatoes came under the quota system, the saving that there would be to (a) the Exchequer and (b) the consumer.

618. Mr. Coughlan asked the Minister for Agriculture the number of tonnes of Cypriot potatoes imported in 1984; the number of consignments and the tonnage of each; the ports of entry for each consignment; the import duty payable per tonne at each port; the number of tonnes of Cypriot potatoes imported until 16 May and the duty thereon; the date of the last order of Cypriot potatoes; who determined the packaging; and the reason they were packed in 25 kilogramme bags while other EEC countries have them packed in 20 kilogramme bags.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Deasy): It is proposed to take Questions Nos. 616, 617 and 618 together.

Under the Association Agreement between the EEC and Cyprus a preferential rate of customs duty at 6 per cent applies to imports of new potatoes from Cyprus from 1 January to 15 May (the full rate is 15 per cent). There is also a preferential rate of 9.4 per cent from 16 May to 30 June for an EEC quota of 60,000 tonnes (the full rate is 21 per cent).

The Cyprus authorities wished to ensure orderly marketing of Cyprus potatoes in Ireland and chose Irish Potato Marketing Ltd. as their representative to carry out the commercial arrangements. The allocation of quantities among [758] applicants was made by IPM following consultations with the trade. Licences were then issued by my Department to 28 traders who had concluded purchase arrangements with IPM. These 28 were included in a total of 57 applications received by my Department between 21 February and 7 June 1984.

Three consignments were imported. The first contained 1,160 tonnes and was imported through Derry. The second contained 1,645 tonnes and was imported through Greenore. Both of these consignments were imported by 15 May except for 30 tonnes imported on 16 May. The third consignment amounted to 600 tonnes and has been imported through Derry this month. In the event all imports subsequent to 15 May were accommodated under the EEC quota of 60,000 tonnes and therefore attracted the reduced duty of 9.4 per cent.

The distribution of licences and quantities were: Leinster, 21 licences for 2,815 tonnes (including 19 licences for 2,775 tonnes for Dublin); Connacht, 1 licence for 20 tonnes; Munster, 3 licences for 490 tonnes; Ulster (all Donegal), 3 licences for 80 tonnes.

The Cyprus authorities and my Department agreed that special packaging in 25 Kg bags would facilitate the identification of the agreed supplies.