Wednesday, 19 May 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
190. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the level of engagement and the rate of progress being made between the EU and Britain on a bilateral veterinary agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27058/21]
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement creates a new framework for the EU-UK relationship. It ensures quota-free and tariff-free trade between the EU and the UK. This is of significant importance to the Irish agri-food and fisheries sectors.
I would like to have seen a more comprehensive EU-UK Agreement that included an SPS agreement (commonly referred to as a Veterinary Agreement) between the two parties. What was achievable was ultimately constrained by UK red lines in the negotiations, in that the UK was not prepared to commit to the extent of regulatory alignment with EU rules that would be required in order to facilitate such an SPS agreement.
Engagement in this area is being taken forward in accordance with the provisions of the SPS Chapter of the EU-UK TCA. Among other things, this chapter aims to protect human, animal and plant life and health, while also facilitating trade. It is a complex area of work and it is intended that the Trade Specialised Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures will oversee same. Its programme of work and schedule of meetings is still being determined. In the meantime, the Department is engaging closely with our EU partners to ensure that our key interests are protected and advanced.