Minister Martin says WTO agreement must not undermine agricultural interests
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., attending his first EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brussels today, said that Ireland continues to have very serious concerns about the latest proposals tabled last week at the WTO negotiations.
The Minister said that “the risk of serious damage to European agriculture from an unsatisfactory WTO Deal must be of grave concern to everyone in Europe, producers and consumers alike. This is particularly the case at a time when food security is looming as potentially a major issue for the future. We are concerned that new market realities and emerging food security issues are being ignored in the rush towards an early deal.”
Minister Martin detailed Ireland’s profound reservations about the latest WTO papers on agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA). He said that “we cannot ignore the very real uncertainties that surround the ability of our WTO partners to deliver on any deal that may emerge. Our view is that the timetable for the negotiations must be substance-driven. A rushed endgame that leads to an unsatisfactory result would not be in our interests.” Minister Martin agreed with others who questioned whether the “objective grounds currently exist for an early WTO Ministerial meeting.”
The Minister made it clear that “the very clear imbalance in the present set of proposals makes them unacceptable to Ireland and to others. If it is to be acceptable, a WTO agreement must not undermine our agricultural interests. A WTO deal must deliver real benefit to Europe and to developing countries.”
“We want a WTO agreement as much as any other Member State, but it must be fair and balanced in respect of what the EU is being asked to concede and what it is receiving in return. We are determined to continue working with other Member States so as to ensure that any outcome to these negotiations will not result in our key interests being sacrificed.”
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