At a time when the role of food production had re-emerged as vital to national and EU objectives it was incongruous to see the Irish Exporters Association attempting to diminish the economic value of Irish agriculture in the context of WTO negotiations.
This was stated by Marian Harkin MEP when she commented on the negative views expressed by the Irish Exporters Association about protecting the interests of the Irish food industry and farming in the Geneva negotiations.
“At a time when the indigenous dimensions of Ireland’s productive sector are increasingly important as the artificial economic boom declines it would be seriously remiss of the Government not to maintain Ireland’s agriculture and food sector central to its strategy in relation to any WTO agreement,” she said.
“The net value of the agriculture and food sector, with its low content of imported materials, contrasted with many other exports which contained a substantial element of imported raw materials”, she stressed. “The extra value earnings from agriculture and food, combined with their huge importance to local economies throughout Ireland, demanded due regard from the Government,” Deputy Harkin said.
Those like the Irish Exporters Association who failed to see the reality of the core importance of the agriculture and food sector to the Irish economy and to regional development would, hopefully, have little influence on Government thinking when the question of a veto of any WTO agreement arose, Deputy Harkin concluded.