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Commission responds on dairy export refunds

31 October 2008

In response to a Parliamentary question from Jim Allister MEP, the Commission has rejected the need to reinstate dairy export refunds at this time.

The MEP tabled the following Parliamentary question:
“In light of the gross disparity which has emerged on the world market, in particular unrealistically low commodity prices in the southern hemisphere, will the Commission consider re-introducing export refunds for the dairy sector?”

Commissioner Fischer Boel’s written answer dated the 27th October reads as follows:
“The Commission monitors closely the market situation for dairy products, both on the Community markets and on the world market. Export refunds are one of several tools available to the Commission for supporting the dairy sector, if such support is needed. However, although dairy commodity prices all over the world have come down from their exceptionally high levels in 2007, prices are still well above the levels prior to 2007. Dairy commodity prices in the Community are generally 15-20% above their respective intervention price level.”

“Under the current circumstances the Commission therefore does not see the need to interfere in the market by reactivating one or more of the support tools available. It is clear, however, that the Commission is ready to act in the necessary targeted and responsible way in the future, should market prices deteriorate in a more substantial way.”    

In response to the Commissioner’s remarks, Jim Allister MEP commented:
“I am disappointed at the Commission’s decision not to introduce dairy export refunds at this time. However, even since I tabled this Parliamentary question some 4 weeks ago, we have witnessed a massive downturn in milk auction prices in Northern Ireland.”

“Significantly, the Commission has not ruled out reactivating one or more of the support tools available should market prices justify such an approach. With an average auction price for milk at 18p, clearly, market intervention is now necessary. I will be raising these matters further with the Commission in coming days.”


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Agriculture and Environment