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Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 8 June 2016

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Ceisteanna (57)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

57. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the objective of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to permit the sale of unlabelled hormone injected beef and unlabelled genetically modified organism products from the US to be sold in Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14498/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The short answer to this question is no. There is no intention on the part of the negotiators in the European Commission to in any way endanger or undermine the comprehensive food safety and public health standards that are implemented in the EU in the context of negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

A number of key issues in this regard arise in relation to food standards, hormone treated beef and GMOs. All of these arose in the recent negotiations with Canada for a Free Trade Agreement and were resolved, and I believe they will also be capable of being resolved in TTIP.

We have made the point, and I am confident that it is shared by the European Commission and other Member States, that the principle of equivalence must continue to apply so that, even where food production processes in the EU and US are not identical, they will provide equivalent guarantees regarding the standards of production. This principle is already enshrined under the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Agriculture, and is also recognised by both sides as the basis for a TTIP agreement.

Equally, it is important that both the EU and United States retain the policy space to restrict certain practices and processes on social and ethical grounds, and this is also recognised, in principle, by both sides. For example, the EU Commission has made it clear that it will not allow the importation of hormone treated meat into the EU, and this is well understood by the US side. In relation to GMOs, there is a well-established assessment and approval process in place in the EU that restricts that marketing of GMOs to those products that have been formally approved. This should not change under a TTIP agreement.

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