Dáil Éireann - Volume 433 - 06 July, 1993

Written Answers. - Agricultural Agreement.

[1166] 117. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade the reason for the change in the recent expression of opposition to the Agricultural Agreement negotiated between Commissioner MacSharry and the United States in respect of the GATT negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Tourism and Trade (Mr. McCreevy): First, I would stress that there has been no change in the Irish position on the agriculture agreement negotiated between the EC Commission and US negotiators.

Since details of the agreement became available late last November the Government has consistently stated that, while the agreement contained some positive elements relating to the safeguarding of the Common Agricultural Policy compensatory payments, it has major difficulties regarding other aspects. The main concern is the proposed volume restriction on subsidised exports which would have a very severe impact on the beef sector in particular but also on other livestock sectors and the economy as a whole.

The Government has voiced its concerns on the agreement in the various fora at every available opportunity and most recently at the Special General Affairs Council on 2 July. In the ongoing negotiations the Government will continue to seek to have Ireland's concerns fully addressed, with particular regard to Ireland's agricultural and food interests.