Dáil Éireann - Volume 478 - 07 May, 1997
Written Answers - Beef Exports.
Mr. J. Walsh Mr. J. Walsh
215. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the proposals, if any, he has made at EU level to improve the system of managing the EU GATT quota on beef exports in order that producers do not suffer through the effects of export refund cuts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11974/97]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates) Ivan Yates
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): The GATT Agreement of 1994 imposed a limit on the volume of subsidised exports of beef which the EU may export to third countries. This limit is due to fall from 1.137 million tonnes in 1995 to 821,700 tonnes in 2000. The EU Commission monitors this ceiling through the level of export licences issued in order to ensure an orderly allocation of licences throughout the year. When the Commissioner considers there is a risk that this ceiling is likely to be breached, they have resorted to suspension-rejection of licences and cuts in the rate of refund in an attempt to reduce demand for licences.
I have continously and consistently opposed this approach to the management of the licensing system and I have suggested more effective ways of managing the licensing system within the ceilings.These suggestions included (a) a reduction in the period of validity of licences; (b) the introduction of optional non-transferable licences; and (c) the application of a reduction co-efficient to applications for licences. The Commission has taken on board my suggestion at (a) and has reduced the validity period of the licences from two months plus month of issue to 30 days from the date of issue. I will continue to press for a better management of the GATT ceiling. I have also suggested that in order to eliminate the speculation element from the licensing issue that the licences should be made non-transferable.
Dáil Éireann 478 Written Answers Beef Exports.