There is a real prospect of growing Irish meat and dairy exports to Canada under the EU-Canada CETA deal, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has said.
Responding to a parliamentary question in the Dáil this week from Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan, she said that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) includes significant liberalisation of agri-food trade, which will benefit Irish agriculture.
“The total value of meat and dairy exports from Ireland to Canada is €5.1m and €11.8m respectively and there is a real prospect of growing business in these areas with Canada.
“Over the years, Ireland has developed an important pigmeat export trade to Canada, and now there is potential to develop the export business for Irish beef and lamb also.
“The removal of the Canadian 26.5% import tariff will be a significant factor in achieving this aim. This means that Irish meat producers have full tariff-free access to the Canadian market.
“In October 2016, Meat Industry Ireland wrote to me expressing their support for the early provisional application of CETA.”
Beef considered a ‘sensitive agricultural product’
On the controversial issue of Canadian beef imports coming into the EU, Mitchell O’Connor said that beef is considered as a sensitive agricultural product in EU free trade agreements, where only limited concessions are granted in the form of tariff rate quotas.
“This means that only hormone-free meat can be imported into the EU. Ireland successfully campaigned for the EU to grant Canada a low beef tariff rate quota of 45,850t progressively over five years, thereby safeguarding our important EU market in this area.
“Above this agreed quota the EU’s high tariffs continue to apply,” she said.