TRADE: Cork based Agriculture Minister Michael Creed Welcomes Landmark EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

6 July 2017
By Bryan Smyth

Very significant gains achieved in relation to agri-food access to the Japanese market

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Cork based Michael Creed T.D., today warmly welcomed the announcement of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan, which provides for very significant access to the Japanese market for EU agri-food products.

Speaking after the announcement in Brussels today 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.”

Referring further to the outcome in the agriculture area, Minister Creed firstly welcomed the agreement in relation to beef, which 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. He said: “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.”

Concluding, the Minister emphasised the importance of this agreement against the backdrop of the challenges presented by Brexit. He said: “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.”

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