The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has welcomed the announcement by the European Commission and the Office of the United States Trade Representative that they had reached an understanding in the long running civil aircraft dispute which had resulted in tariffs. 

Speaking following the announcement this week, the minister said: “The announcement on the civil aircraft dispute is a very welcome one, given the impact that it has had on Ireland-US agri-food and drinks trade over a prolonged period.

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

The tariffs were imposed as a consequence of a dispute over illegal subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

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

Tariffs to be suspended

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

Minister McConalogue added: “Lifting this tariff burden in the civil aircraft dispute, which equated to €95 million on impacted Irish agri-food exports of €380 million in 2020, will help Irish agri-food exporters to the US as they emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Furthermore, the suspension of these tariffs for five years also gives Irish importers certainty with regard to long-term contracts – I am thinking specifically here of our animal feed importers who were hit with additional tariffs on cane molasses and beet pulp as a result of this dispute.”

Minister of State with responsibility for new market development, Martin Heydon, also welcomed the news and commented:

“Ireland is a small open economy that trades with over 180 countries worldwide. As such, any barriers to trade, monetary or technical, are an unwelcome impediment to our market access and competitiveness.

“No side wins in trade disputes and yesterday’s announcement is an important step in re-setting the bilateral EU US relationship.

“Our food and drink offering now has the opportunity to expand further in the United States, whose discerning consumers will purchase our produce based on its sustainability, safety, quality and taste,” the junior minister concluded.