NEWS: Ireland Foreign Affairs committee to discuss EU proposal to withdraw free market access to some ACP countries

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Brussels, 4 April 2012/ PB: Officials from Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will attend the meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade today, 4th April to discuss COM (2011)598 relating to Economic Partnership Agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

This is the first time the Committee will have a full scrutiny hearing on an EU Commission proposal. Com 2011 598 is a proposal amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 to exclude of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded the negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement.

A number of ACP countries were granted duty free, quota free market access on the understanding they would ratify an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). While these countries have made use of their free market access to the European markets, a significant number of countries have not ratified an EPA, and therefore the aim of this proposal is to withdraw the duty free, quota free market access to those countries who have not ratified an EPA by the end of 2013.

Committee Chairman, Pat Breen TD said: “Committee members will have its first full scrutiny of an EU Commission proposal, in this case Com 2011 598 which proposed to withdraw duty free, quota free market access for a number of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries which have not ratified an Economic partnership Agreement by the end of 2013.

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will update the committee on the background and aim of the proposal, how it will impact the ACP countries involved and the implications for Ireland.”

The meetings will start in Committee Room 1 at 2.30pm on Wednesday, 4th April.

Committee proceedings can be followed live at:

(Pictured: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mr Pat Breen)

- Pat Breen Official Website

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