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Minister Coughlan welcomes the maintenance of EU Export Refunds for Butter

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, welcoming the maintenance of EU export refunds for butter, said she was very pleased that the EU Commission had responded to her requests by retaining export refunds for butter and SMP. She has serious concerns about the current difficulties on the dairy market and has highlighted these to the Commission on several occasions, urging the effective use of the market management mechanisms to ensure the overall stability of the milk sector.

At the recent Milk Management Committee meeting, the Commission maintained the export refunds for butter at the current level. The export refund for SMP was also maintained albeit at a slightly lower rate. The Commission initially proposed zero rating the export refund for SMP in expectation of the price reduction due to the implementation of the Mid Term Reform of CAP. Following rigorous debate, led by Ireland and with the support of other Member States, the Commission amended their proposal to a decrease in the refund from €5/100kg to €3/100kg. The Minister said that the Commission's response was very welcome.

The maintenance of the export refunds will help to stimulate dairy exports from Ireland and the EU, particularly in view of the current unfavourable euro/dollar exchange rate. The Minister is optimistic that preserving the export refunds should provide a significant momentum for EU dairy exports on the international markets.

26 May 2006

Date Released: 26 May 2006