Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue welcomed the announcement by the European Commission and the Office of the US Trade Representative that they had reached an agreement in the longstanding dispute over civilian aircraft that had resulted in tariffs.

Speaking following this week’s announcement, the minister said: “The announcement of the civil aircraft dispute is very welcome, given the impact it has had on the agri-food and beverage trade. between Ireland and the United States over an extended period.

“The timing is also very positive in light of the challenges that may arise from the trade ‘agreement in principle’ [AIP] announced by UK and Australia yesterday.

The tariffs were imposed following a dispute over illegal subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus.

Irish products which had been subject to an additional 25% import duty included: Irish single malt whiskey; liqueurs; cheese; pork; yogurt; Butter; dairy spreads; fats and oils derived from milk; and a variety of seafood.

Suspended tariffs

Tariffs imposed by the EU and US in the dispute, which are currently on hold until July 11, will be suspended under this week’s announcement for a further five-year period.

Minister McConalogue added: “The lifting of this tariff burden in the civil aircraft dispute, which amounted to 95 million euros on Irish agri-food exports impacted by 380 million euros in 2020, will help Irish agri-food exporters to the United States on its way out of the Covid19 pandemic.

“In addition, the suspension of these tariffs for five years also gives Irish importers certainty about long-term contracts – I’m thinking specifically here of our feed importers who have been hit by additional tariffs on cane molasses and beet pulp as a result of this dispute.

Minister of State for New Market Development Martin Heydon also welcomed the news and commented:

“Ireland is a small, open economy that trades with over 180 countries around the world. As such, any barrier to trade, monetary or technical, constitutes an undesirable barrier to our market access and our competitiveness.

“No party wins in trade disputes and yesterday’s announcement is an important step in redefining EU-US bilateral relations.

“Our food and beverage offering now has the opportunity to expand further into the United States, where discerning consumers will purchase our products based on their durability, safety, quality and taste,” said concluded the young minister.

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