Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 18 November, 2004

Written Answers. - World Trade Negotiations.

[1480]   40. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food her position regarding the abolition of export credit refunds by the EU; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29209/04]

  Mary Coughlan: I assume that the Deputy is referring to the agreement on the framework for the new WTO round which was reached in August 2004. The framework agreement provides for the elimination, in annual instalments, by a date to be agreed, of export subsidies, export credits, export credit guarantees or insurance programmes with repayment periods over 180 days and the trade distorting practices of state trading enterprises. Export credits, guarantees and insurance schemes with repayment periods of less than 180 days and arrangements for the provision of food aid will be subject to new disciplines to be negotiated, the latter to avoid abuses of food aid.

I believe that the framework agreement represents a satisfactory outcome from Ireland’s point of view. All forms of export subsidy, including the EU’s system of export refunds, will be subject to similar disciplines thereby ensuring equal competition on the world market. I will be aiming, in the final negotiations on the new round, to ensure the most favourable phasing arrangements for Irish exporters and full parallelism in the treatment of all forms of subsidy. Agreement on the round is not expected before the WTO ministerial conference which will be held in December 2005.