06/07/2017

Minister Creed Welcomes New EU-Japan Economic Deal

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has welcomed a new economic deal being agreed between the European Union and Japan.

The Economic Partnership Agreement will provide significant access to the Japanese market for EU agri-food products.

The deal provides for annual export quantities of 43,500 tonnes product weight (approximately 56,000 tonnes carcass weight equivalent) at tariff rates which will fall from the current level of 38.5% to 27.5% in the first year of implementation, and then to 9% over the remainder of the fifteen-year period of the agreement.

Speaking after the announcement in Brussels by European Council President Donald Tusk and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Minister Creed said: "This is a hugely important development for the EU agri-food sector, and will present very real opportunities for Irish agri-food exporters.

"The news is particularly good for the Irish beef sector, as the agreement contains very significant concessions in relation to Japanese market access for European Union beef. I want to extend my sincere congratulations to Commissioners Hogan and Malmström, who very skilfully brought these negotiations to a conclusion in recent days.

"The concessions achieved in relation to beef are particularly significant, and represent a huge opportunity which I am determined will be utilised to the maximum possible extent by the Irish beef sector. But the outcome is also extremely positive in relation to pigmeat, where Japan will significantly lower the tariffs applied through its import scheme over the period of the agreement, and for cheese and dairy products, where the agreement provides for the full liberalisation of tariffs on hard cheeses, including cheddar, over fifteen years.

"This is a particularly welcome development as we increase our focus on market diversification and the need to reduce our dependence on the UK market. The addition of Japan as a potentially important export outlet, particularly for sectors such as beef and dairy which are especially exposed to the impact of Brexit, is hugely important, and an opportunity which we shall waste no time in exploiting."

(LM)

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