Dáil Éireann - Volume 482 - 18 November, 1997
Written Answers. - EU Imports.
Mr. Timmins Mr. Timmins
25. Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if the level of agricultural  produce being imported into the EU in recent years from central and eastern Europe is increasing; if these imports are depressing prices for Irish commodities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19293/97]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh) Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh)
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I am aware that there has been increasing trade in agricultural produce between the EU and the ten central and eastern European countries (CEECs). I propose to distribute two tables which set out the position in relation to such trade for 1994, 1995 and 1996 between the EU and the CEECs, and between Ireland and the CEECs over the same period.
While imports of agricultural produce to the EU have grown by 21 per cent between 1994 and 1996, exports of identical produce have increased by 39 per cent over the same period. Furthermore, the balance of trade between both (i.e. exports over imports) has increased from + 24.1 per cent in 1994 to + 42.2 per cent in 1996 in favour of the EU.
In relation to trade in agri-food produce between Ireland and the CEECs, the position is that the balance of agri-food trade is heavily in favour of Ireland.
Given the positive elements of current trading between Ireland, and the EU as a whole, and the CEECs, I am happy that Irish producers are benefiting rather than losing under present trading arrangements.
Trade between the EU and the CEECs 1994-96 (ECUs) 000s.
Agri-Food trade between Ireland and the CEECs 1994-96 (£IR') 000s.
The ten CEEC countries are Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Dáil Éireann 482 Written Answers. EU Imports.