Dáil debates

Thursday, 22 November 2007

3:00 pm

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)

Conditions for trade in animal products with third countries follow the principles laid down under agreements of the World Trade Organisation and the international organisation for animal health. The European Commission is mandated to negotiate these conditions on behalf of the European Union and, through its Food and Veterinary Office, FVO, monitor the compliance of third countries it has approved for trade with the Union. Where there are risks to public or animal health in the Community, arising from disease outbreaks in approved third countries, safeguard measures are invoked banning or restricting imports from the affected country or regions.

I publicly welcomed the publication of the latest FVO report by the European Commission. The report should be very helpful in the overall process of ensuring equivalence. My Department has requested the EU authorities to arrange for a discussion of this report at the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. A further mission to Brazil is being arranged for this month by the FVO. It is vital that the FVO report on its findings at the earliest possible date and that the European Commission take whatever action is necessary to protect the interests of EU consumers and producers.

I have consistently pointed out to the Commissioner and my colleagues in the Council of Ministers that produce imported from third countries must meet standards equivalent to those required of Community producers. In this context, I have been in regular contact with the Commissioner who has assured me that the Commission will not hesitate to take action if a product imported from a third country represents a risk for EU consumers, livestock or plants.


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