An analysis of the developments in trade policy from an Irish dairy angle. Focus this month on US, Japan & Vietnam.
The US/ EU TTIP deal progress remains very slow with a lot of attention on the fact that public opinion is turning against a deal in many states.
Again from an Irish dairy coop industry perspective, while the US negotiating team is saying they want full liberalisation of all dairy tariff lines, in reality they are playing a relatively defensive line on the types of finished value added product lines we would be offensive on in Ireland.
A lot of European political credit is being swallowed up on the protection of GI Label (Geographically Indicated) cheeses such as feta and parmesan, where Ireland has little or no offensive interests. The fear for us on the Irish side is that the EU team will sacrifice our interests in getting rid of tariff and other barriers to trade for Irish product in return for a deal with these GI cheeses.
ICOS is working assiduously with a range of partners to avoid this.
Free Trade Negotiations here are finally nearing an endgame with EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom just back from a summit in Tokyo.
While geographically somewhat away from our core markets for Irish Dairy, Japan still represents an attractive high value consumer market for our coops to target.
Again, like America, GI cheeses a big issue and Japan are very defensive of their domestic farm industry which is heavily subsidised.
It looks like the final deal will involve the EU gaining access to a specific limited quota in dairy products and beef which we must be nimble as an industry to maximise.
We are highlighting this agreement as again it is nearing completion. ICOS got a specific brief from Commission officials in light of the government’s welcome decision to fund a Bord Bia office in Saigon in preparation for the signing of a deal with this teeming country of almost 100 million souls.
ICOS were told that after 3 years of intense negotiations we were now entering the final stages of a deal, with again Agriculture a sticking point for the Vietnamese.
Currently they have import tariffs of over 30% on many agriculture lines.
The EU team is prioritising dairy access, along with meat and wine, and ICOS are providing the team with any information required where appropriate.
It is a country where high quality dairy consumption is growing rapidly, so we hope or co-ops may be able to take advantage of opportunities there.
21 Nov 2023