Food Wise 2025

Chapter 2 - International Context

International Trade Regulatory Environment

Ireland is an open trading economy and international trade agreements can provide significant benefits through increased market access and reduced tariffs. This  and contribute to Irish agri-food export growth, particularly post 2015 and the lifting of the milk quotas when outlets for increased production will need to be targeted at new and emerging markets.

These agreements do however also present challenges in terms of our defensive interests, in particular given the importance of the EU market for Irish beef exports, the potential conclusion of international trade agreements represent significant challenges/risks for specifically the beef and pigmeat sectors.  The conclusion of a WTO Development Agenda and EU bilateral/plurilateral trade agreements (TTIP-US and Mercosur agreements) would result in significant increases in preferential EU beef import quotas, significantly increasing competition for Irish beef exports to EU markets, particularly if the increased preferential quotas are disproportionally applied at the high value end of the market.  While these negotiations remain difficult and a timeframe for their conclusion uncertain, there will continue to be strong commitment at EU level for their conclusion, and there is an expectation that some or all of these negotiations will be agreed in the medium term (within 5 years and therefore within the time span of 2025 Strategy).  Ireland must continue to press for the framing of any agreements on beef in a way that does not allow the high value end of the market to be disproportionately targeted.