By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Irish Ministers respond to the collapse of WTO talks

At tonight's meeting of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council in Geneva, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD, expressed the Government's reaction to the collapse of the WTO negotiations in Geneva following the longest ever WTO Ministerial meeting.

The Tánaiste said that she and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Trade and Commerce, John McGuinness TD and Minister for Overseas Development, Peter Power TD had come to Geneva with the aim of securing a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced trade deal.

The Tánaiste said that Irish Ministers had used every opportunity, whether through meetings of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council or bilaterally with various countries, including the French Presidency of the EU as well as the EU Commission, to assert Ireland's interests.

The Tánaiste expressed disappointment that it had not been possible for the WTO to agree a new deal but acknowledged that the negotiations represented a very complex process covering a wide range of areas, with a particular emphasis this past week on agriculture and industrial goods, and involving over 150 countries each with different interests.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, said that throughout the long series of meetings, he had continued to express the Government's strong concerns about the agriculture proposals and, in particular, the potential impact of the proposals on the Irish beef sector. Since 2004, the Minister for Agriculture ensured that Ireland played a central role, along with a number of like-minded countries, in protecting the interests of European agriculture.

Minister McGuinness said that a deal would have offered very positive prospects for Ireland arising from progress in the services area, which had the potential to inject real gains into the Irish economy and provide benefits to Irish service providers from greater access to markets, particularly in emerging economies in such sectors as software, financial and other business sectors. In terms of manufacturing, Mr McGuinness said that reduced tariffs would have improved the competitiveness of Irish exports, thus supporting Irish manufacturing jobs and providing new opportunities for Irish companies.

The Ministers said that they remained committed to achieving an acceptable trade deal.

Date Released: 30 July 2008