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Fine detail of WTO deal critical

06 August 2004

The fine detail of the recent WTO deal on agriculture, reached in Geneva last week, will be critical to how Northern Ireland farmers fair in the future,” commented Jim Allister MEP.  “Over the next 18 months it is vital that Europe continues to negotiate to ensure that further concessions are not required that will affect farmers here in Northern Ireland.


“Of greatest concern is the proposal to remove the Export refunds from products which are produced within Europe and exported to non-European countries.  This would have severe implications for the Northern Ireland dairy processing industry in the short term and it is hoped that these cuts will be postponed until the dairy sector has time to adapt to the proposed changes.”


Mr Allister commented that it is vital that both beef and dairy products are designated as ‘sensitive products’. “Within the agreement there is a provision to class certain products as sensitive and as a result offer these products greater protection by placing certain market access restrictions on similar products from other countries.  This should help protect Northern Ireland farmers from beef and dairy products produced in other regions of the world like Brazil, Argentina and New Zealand.”


Mr Allister believes that Europe will not have to go through further reform in the near future in order to sign up to the WTO deal.  “It is now apparent that the current reform of the CAP and the decoupling of direct payments is adequate for the WTO agreement.  We need to ensure that in the future, there are no further cuts in the support given to Northern Ireland farmers.” 



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Agriculture and Environment