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Friday 14 December 2018

Creed warns of trade war impacts on Irish exports

Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Michael Creed. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A trade war between the US and China is "the last thing we need" according to Agriculture Minister Michael Creed as he warned of the impact it may have on Irish exports.

Mr Creed said trade barriers were damaging and significant international partners "using a vocabulary that is hostile to trade" was not good for Ireland.

He said he was concerned the US-Chinese trade war could spill over and warned any fallout could have a knock-on impact on Irish exports to the US.

Ireland needs to be aware of an EU response to the trade war, he said, adding that it "could spiral out of control".

"We are probably one of the most globalised economies in the agrifood space and the last thing we need is people putting up barriers to trade," he said.

Irish exports to the US recorded robust growth last year, exceeding €1bn for the first time. Meanwhile, exports to China, driven principally by dairy and pig meat, grew by 5pc to €700m.

International trade sanctions have already had a drastic impact on Irish industry this year.

Concerns about US sanctions on Russia led to worry about the future of the Aughinish Alumina plant in Co Limerick. Mr Creed said relations between key players could have an impact on Irish exports.

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"There are talks about a trade war between China and the US over steel and aluminium," he said. "That could quickly spill over into having a damaging impact on us because the EU has responded in the context of steel and has put products like bourbon and Harley-Davidson on a reciprocal trade blacklist for US imports. That could very quickly spiral out of control."

Irish Independent

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