Food standards will be upheld in TTIP trade deal – Bruton

European food standards will be upheld in any EU/US trade deal, according to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.

Speaking at the launch of a report on the impact of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on the Irish economy, he said that there there is no question that EU standards will be upheld.

“It is a crucial part which is written into the mandate and has been to the forefront of the discussions that we have had.”

The Minister said that, on balance, while there is some downside for the beef sector the overall gains in the agri-food sector is very substantial at €250m.

However, Minister Bruton did say that the Government has to be alert to the threats in the beef sector in particular.

“That informs our own thinking and obviously it informs the Commissioners thinking about this as well,” he said.

“Coming from a beef farm myself I understand the concerns,” the Minister said.

He said from an Irish point of view he is looking to protect this sector, stating that this is a very defensive interest for the Government.

A lot will depend on the price differential between the US and EU market, he said.

Dairy opportunities

However, the Minister said there are real opportunities in trade agreements for the dairy sector.

“I have been with small producers trying to get into the Canadian and the US market and it is pretty tough against the barriers that are there. These are good high margin markets,” he said.

Total Irish exports of dairy are expected to increase by approximately €162m relative to exports in 2013, while imports are only expected to increase by €73m.

Changes in trade flows are expected to increase gross value added in the dairy sector by approximately €40m relative to 2013.

The report published today is an independent study on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by Copenhagen Economics and showed that despite negative impact on the beef sector it is expected to increase Irish agriculture exports by 2% to 3% or €230-€270m, relative to 2013.