Dáil Éireann - Volume 423 - 14 October, 1992

Written Answers. - Single European Market.

55. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Finance the measures which have been put in place for the advent of the Single European Market in January 1993; the effect that this will have on our tax free trade; if there will be job losses in this trade and in the areas of customs/customs agents; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern): Over 90 per cent of the 282 proposals required to give effect to the internal market have been agreed at Community level. Details of these measures and those which have yet to be agreed can be found in the Seventh Progress Report on the [1200] Completion of the Internal Market published by the EC Commission.

Under the Directives on indirect taxation adopted as part of the Single Market programme, member states may opt to permit the continuation of duty free shopping for intra-community travellers until 30 June 1999; the position of third-country travellers is unchanged. Duty free shopping here can continue, provided a satisfactory control system can be found. Discussions are taking place at present on devising a system based on control of the duty free outlet operators rather than on individual travellers.

While there are no specific arrangements in place to compensate customs clearance agents directly for loss of earnings due to the internal market, there is a broad range of training schemes available from FÁS, as well as advice and grant support schemes from industrial promotion agencies, which are available to individuals and firms wishing to diversify into other areas of business. The EC Commission has put forward proposals for assistance in this area through existing Structural Funds and through further ad hoc measures. These proposals concentrate on retraining and assistance for developing new businesses and for local development initiatives.