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Export Refunds Reintroduced For Dairy Products

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith T.D. has welcomed the reintroduction of export refunds for butter, butteroil, skimmed and whole milk powder, and cheese agreed at today's Management Committee meeting in Brussels.

Minister Smith said that Ireland has been pressing for these measures and they would improve the competitive position of EU and Irish products on the world market. The Minister had made clear to the Commissioner in November, and again at this weeks Agriculture Council that the introduction of a range of supports would help to restore confidence and put a floor under market prices. The opportunity is now available for the sector to shift product into international markets with the support of export refunds.

The Commission accepted tenders for butter at a maximum refund level of €50 per 100kg and the common refund rate for butter was set at €45/100kg. For skimmed milk powder the maximum tender refund rate is €20/100kg and the common refund rate was set at €17/100kg. The common refunds for cheese and whole milk powder respectively are €22/100kg and €26/100kg.

¿Today's decision reflects the current difficult trading conditions in international markets for milk products. The reintroduction of export refunds across a range of product categories will improve the prospects of EU and Irish dairy exports on world markets¿.

The Minister said he would continue to monitor the situation closely in conjunction with the dairy industry. He said he would continue to press the Commission to ensure that export refunds and other market support measures are appropriately structured to improve the competitiveness to the dairy sector.

23 January, 2009

Date Released: 23 January 2009