Written Answers. - EC Pig Exports.

551.

asked the Minister for Agriculture, in view of the fact that on joining the European Community our share of EC pig exports was 2 per cent and has now dropped to 0.5 per cent, if he considers it an urgent priority to take steps to ensure we not only regain our position in the market but increase our market share; and if he will outline the measures, if any, he intends to take.

Comprehensive figures for Ireland's share of EC trade in pigmeat are available for the period from 1974-83. These show that Ireland's share of extra-Community exports increased from 0.9 per cent in 1974 to 3.6 per cent in 1983. At the same time, our share of intra-Community exports remained fairly stable at 2.3 per cent in 1983 compared with 2.7 per cent in 1974. Our total exports increased from 39,000 tonnes in 1974 to 60,000 tonnes in 1983, an increase of almost 54 per cent.

It is primarily for the pigmeat industry itself to decide on export marketing arrangements in the context of the support provided under the CAP system and I will continue to work to ensure that this support is as effective as possible. EC rules, however, prohibit the granting of national aid for pigmeat exports.