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Allister challenges Mandelson on WTO

15 November 2005

During Question Time in the European Parliament DUP MEP; JIM ALLISTER, asked Trade Commissioner why agriculture was being made the whipping boy and easy sacrifice in the WTO negotiations.  The MEP reminded the Commissioner that CAP reform had been sold on the basis that it would safeguard agriculture from further tariff cuts in the trade talks, yet here he was "precipitatively making unilateral offers to slash these tariffs by a further massive percentage".  "Have you any ides of the dire jeopardy in which you are placing the survival of the agricultural industry in areas such as Northern Ireland where, as you should know, agriculture is pivotal to our economy", asked Mr Allister.

Mr Mandelson replied that he did not regard his proposed cuts as swinging, nor as capable of placing agriculture in jeopardy.  He maintained he was acting within the envelope of CAP reform.

Commenting afterwards Jim Allister said, "Sadly, there is little sign that Mr Mandelson recognises the magnitude of what he is doing and the risks which he is taking with our primary industry. I will, of course, continue to press home the message that the WTO must not become the graveyard of Ulster agriculture."

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Agriculture and Environment