Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (558)

Jackie Cahill


558. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the confirmation that the Office of the United States Trade Representative is considering including dairy products on a final list of items to be subject to increased duties from the EU as set out in a document (details supplied); the steps being taken at EU level in response to this; and if there have been discussions with other member states, the European Commission and the US administration regarding this development. [29860/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The US and EU have been in a long-running dispute regarding subsidies to their respective major Aircraft manufacturers, Airbus (EU) and Boeing (US).

Both the EU and US had submitted cases to the WTO for adjudication. On 15 May 2018, the WTO Appellate Body found in favour of the US. The EU challenged the awarded estimate and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating this claim and is due to report this summer.

Separately, on 29 March 2019, the WTO's Appellate Body confirmed the European Union's position that the United States had failed to remove trade distorting subsidies in favour of Boeing.

On 8 April 2019, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a list of European goods worth $11 billion that could be targeted with additional tariffs. The targeted items include cheeses, wine, and other food products as well as helicopters and aircraft. In response, on 12 April, the EU published a list of potential countermeasures, with the amount of permitted EU countermeasures to be determined by a WTO-appointed arbitrator.

On 7 July 2019, the USTR issued for public comment, a supplemental list of products to the original list of 8 April 2019 that could potentially be subject to additional duties. While USTR have stated that they are specifically targeting EU countries directly supporting Airbus in these measures, when the lists are reviewed, there are products that are exported from Ireland to the US, including dairy and beverages. This is most unwelcome and it is in Ireland's interest to find a solution to this issue.

The European Commission, having competence in relation to trade matters, negotiates on behalf of Member States, including in relation to trade disputes. Ireland has highlighted the potential impact on the Irish agri-food sector of the proposed tariffs published by the USTR, at the EU Trade Policy Committee (TPC), and has ensured that those negotiating on behalf of the EU are fully aware of Irish concerns in this matter.

The Irish Embassy in Washington is fully abreast of Irish concerns in this dispute and has made these concerns, and, indeed, the importance of the USA market for the dairy & spirits industries, known to USTR officials.