Dáil Éireann - Volume 444 - 23 June, 1994
Written Answers. - EU Imports from Eastern Europe.
Mr. Timmins Mr. Timmins
56. Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry his views on the imports of agricultural products from eastern Europe into the European Union which are competing in the market place with Irish produce.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. J. Walsh) Joe Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. J. Walsh): The position is that the Union imports limited quantities of agricultural produce at special low rates of duty under Europe Agreements negotiated with a number of eastern European countries. The agreements were negotiated in the context of the political upheaval experienced in those countries in recent years and the recognised need for closer links with the Union to ensure stability in those regions. While the Europe Agreements provide for free trade in industrial goods between all parties the concessions on agriculture are limited in recognition of the sensitivity of the agriculture sector in the Union. In addition these countries provide certain  limited export opportunities to the Union for agricultural products.
The import of agricultural products under concessionary arrangements is always a matter of concern because of the near/over-supply situation in many agricultural sectors within the Union. However, the concessions granted to eastern European countries are limited and there is a special safeguard clause whch can be invoked if such imports threaten the Union market. There have been little or no difficulties in relation to the import of products of interest to Ireland and indeed the quotas have not been filled in some cases because of difficulties being experienced in a number of these countries.
Consequently, I am satisfied that, while these imports may make the Union market more competitive, they do not pose a direct threat to Irish producers. Irish agri-food exports have been performing very well and I am particularly pleased that some sectors increased their exports to certain EU markets last year.
Dáil Éireann 444 Written Answers. EU Imports from Eastern Europe.