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Ministers Coughlan And Barnier Meet In Paris To Discuss WTO And Cap Health Check

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, met with her French counterpart, Michel Barnier in Paris today. The meeting was arranged to discuss developments in WTO and the CAP Health Check. Minister of State John McGuinness attended also in relation to the WTO.

Commenting later Minister Coughlan said the meeting had been very useful. She said there were shared views on WTO and both sides had concerns about the way in which the negotiations were going.

The latest negotiation paper from Geneva on agriculture contained a number of areas with which both sides are unhappy and it was felt overall there was a lack of balance. The Ministers agreed to liaise further in the coming weeks and, in particular, in the run up to next week's Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels.

The Ministers also discussed developments in the CAP Health Check and had a very useful exchange of views on the positions being taken in Council. Again as with WTO, Minister Coughlan said there was a huge degree of a commonality on the overall approach to the CAP and to its long-term future.

Both Ministers agreed on the fundamental and increasingly important role of agriculture and food in the world economy.

The Ministers discussed various current market issues and focused in particular on the pigmeat sector. On this, they agreed on the importance of EU supports and on the need to continue and extend these.

Both Ministers agreed to approach the EU Commission in the coming days and to raise the pigmeat sector in the forthcoming Council.

Date Released: 13 February 2008