Thursday, 22 November 2018

Questions (176)

Charlie McConalogue


176. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the joint communication by a number of countries (details supplied) regarding their views on EU proposals to split import quotas for agricultural and industrial goods with the UK due to Brexit. [48832/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

On the 26 June 2018, the European Council authorised the European Commission to open formal negotiations within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on how to divide up existing EU Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) between the EU27 Member States and the United Kingdom (UK).

On 24 July 2018, the EU’s formal notification was circulated to WTO Members in accordance with Article XXVIII of the GATT 1994 with a view to apportioning the EU's entire WTO bound Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs).

The products which have TRQs attached are primarily agricultural and fishery products (including specific beef, swine, sheep, poultry, dairy, fruit, vegetables, wheat, maize, rice and fish products), and a small number of industrial products (including specific wood, silicon, glass, flax and fructose products). The methodology applied to apportionment is based on the UK's share of total Union imports under the TRQ over a recent representative three-year period (2013-2015). This usage share is applied to the entire scheduled TRQ volume to arrive at the UK’s share of a given TRQ. The Union’s share then consists of the remainder of the TRQ in question. This means the total volume of a given TRQ is not changed. The full product list including the EU share in quota is contained in the Regulation Annex.

Ireland has actively engaged with the discussions to date at EU level.  Ireland prioritises the need to minimise disruption to trade as the UK leaves the EU and the importance of maintaining the existing levels of market access, which is also the intention of the European Commission.  Ireland was one of a number of Member States who sought to enhance the consultation requirements for the European Commission with Member States in the apportionment process and we were successful in that regard. This provides us with assurances that any unintended consequences of the proposed approach, given the fluidity of the overall Brexit process, will be discussed by Member States at the relevant Committee, in particular, the Trade Policy Committee.  

Following bilateral engagement with a number of WTO Members as well as exchanges at the Committee on Market Access on 9 October 2018, the EU submitted a revised set of data on 19 October 2018. The EU is ready to engage in negotiations as soon as possible and has invited Members to submit their claims/revised claims without further delay.

As appropriate, my Department will be liaising closely with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, which has lead responsibility on this issue.