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Creed Welcomes Commission Study on Impact of Future Trade Agreements on the Agricultural Sector

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD today (Tuesday) attended the second day of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of Ministers in Brussels. At the meeting, the Commission presented its study on impact of future trade agreements on the agricultural sector, the report of the Agriculture Markets Task Force and Ministers also had the opportunity to discuss the future of CAP post 2020.

Referring to the Commission’s report on the cumulative impact assessment of free trade agreements, the Minister said “as a small open economy, Ireland supports trade liberalisation and we recognise the benefits of trade agreements with third countries. However, such agreements must be balanced and must serve both our offensive and defensive interests. I think the findings in relation to beef in particular are a salutary reminder of the need for great caution in our approach to the issue of beef TRQs. This is an issue that we and other Member States have raised on a consistent basis, and I think the study findings very clearly confirm the basis for these concerns. I would again make the point that the study findings must be fully taken into account in the approach to both current and future FTA negotiations.

At the same time, the study does underline the potential for significant gains for dairy, pig meat and beverages in appropriately structured trade agreements. This is why we need a clear focus on both the offensive and defensive side of any trade negotiations”

The Minister also welcomed the report of the Agriculture Markets Task Force. “The prerequisite for a sustainable food supply chain is free and fair competition, accompanied by balanced relationships between all of the entities along the chain. It is very important that operators along the supply chain all acknowledge their interdependence with each other. This means that they need to work together to develop a model which sustains agricultural production, without which none of the downstream industrial or service sectors could exist. I believe there are certainly some areas, such as unfair trading practices, where an EU-wide approach would be helpful and appropriate. Producer returns at primary level are quite well publicised, retail prices are known but there is little data on the basis on which they are constructed. For this reason I welcome the report’s recommendations in relation to improving transparencysaid Minister Creed.

Ministers also had an early opportunity to exchange views on the Future of the Common Agricultural Policy. Minister Creed said “In my view, the key challenge for the CAP post-2020 will be to facilitate an increase in food production levels by up to 70% by 2050 in order to meet the requirements of a growing global population, while at the same time meeting our responsibilities on climate change. In order to meet this challenge, we need to ensure that the CAP:

  • supports the achievement of sustainable agricultural growth,
  • in an environmentally responsible way, taking account also of the wider development agenda, and
  • in a way that helps farmers to deal with price and income volatility.

The Council of Ministers also received updates on Animal Welfare in Transport, Organics legislation and reports from a recent conference on Anti Microbial Resistance.

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 160/2016 (pdf 475Kb) 

Date Released: 15 November 2016