February 21, 2011


Ireland to gain from South Korean pork, dairy tariffs removal



Irish food and drink producers will yield substantial gains if the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) brings about to the removal of tariffs on pork and dairy products.


Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Politics and Economy, told MEPs in Strasbourg that the proposed agreement holds huge opportunities for Irish goods. He singled out pork, dairy products and whiskey as key growth areas.


Erixon spoke in reply to a question from Munster Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly at a briefing for MEPs ahead of a debate on FTAs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.


Kelly said: "Fredrik Erixon, a leading world economist, has confirmed that Ireland's future Korean export potential is in the three key areas of whiskey, pork products and dairy.


"The elimination of tariffs on these products will be worth EUR360 million (US$492.77) to the European economy.


"I want to see Ireland be the first to fill this gap in the market and continue our solid tradition of exporting the finest agri-food products in the world," Kelly said in his speech to the Parliament.


South Korea is now the world's 12th largest economy. With bilateral trade at EUR54.6 billion (US$74.76) last year, the EU-Korea FTA is one of the biggest ever deals between two economies, rivalled only by Australia's trade pacts with China and the US.


"While 90% of all FTAs are a waste of time according to Erixon, the remaining 10%, including this particular deal, are extremely profitable.

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