Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (366)

Charlie McConalogue


366. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the announcement by the United States of America that it will begin applying WTO tariffs on certain EU goods beginning 18 October 2019 which will result in tariffs on Irish exports of butter, cheese, milk, yoghurt, pork and liqueurs; the discussions he has had with the US authorities, other member states and the Commission in this regard to ensure that this does not take place; the discussions with Irish companies that will be impacted by these tariffs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41150/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As a small, open exporting economy, Ireland is sensitive to any change in global trading conditions. The imposition of tariffs by the U.S. authorities will therefore pose significant challenges for Irish exporters of agri-food products to the US.

I am deeply disappointed to see the level of tariffs proposed, particularly as they come as a result of a WTO Dispute to which Ireland is not a party. Irish products including cream liqueurs and cordials, butter, cheeses and pork products will be subject to the 25% tariff.

Since the beginning of this dispute, and in particular since the US released their first list of prospective goods to be tariffed in April 2019, my Department has been in regular contact with our colleagues in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and industry representatives.

DBEI (which leads on trade matters for Ireland) wrote to all relevant parties outlining the process that interested parties could use to engage with USTR in relation to their proposed tariff list. In parallel, we have highlighted our concerns at EU level as well as at appropriate bilateral engagements with US interlocuters in Dublin and Washington. The US authorities have been made aware of the disproportionate impact on Ireland of these tariffs, relative to other EU member states, primarily through our Embassy in Washington.

Ireland and the EU have underlined the point that mutual retaliation is in neither side’s interest and have proposed to the US that we negotiate a fair and balanced outcome that would end this dispute, and are prepared to engage immediately. In tandem, Ireland's lobbying at political, diplomatic and official levels continues.