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Allister urges WTO caution in interests of ensuring security of food supply to EU

29 November 2005

MEP JIM ALLISTER today in Brussels raised with UK Secretary of State for Trade, Alan Johnston, the issue of the long-term security of food supply for the EU, in the context of the up-coming WTO negotiations.  Mr Johnston was appearing before the Committee on International Trade in his capacity as current President of the Council of Ministers for Trade.

Pointing to the flooding of the British market with South American beef, during the summer of 2005, Mr Allister reminded the Minister that in consequence the bottom fell out of the beef market for local producers.  If tariffs were cut, as proposed by Commissioner Mandelson, by another 50 per cent, then British and Irish beef producers would be forced out of business en masse, national herds would be destroyed and the EU would become predominantly dependent for red-meat food supply on South America.  What, then, if South America suffered a continent wide foot and mouth outbreak (already occurred in Brazil), or some other pandemic which devastated the food supply chain, where then would the UK and the EU get its meat supply?

The DUP MEP stressed that there was a public duty on the EU and its Member States to provide security of food supply, but the dangerous course being pursued in the WTO talks was putting that in jeopardy. He urged on the Minister the need to seriously address this issue and desist from proposals which placed our security of food supply at risk.

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Agriculture and Environment