In the course of discussing new export markets, Commissioner Hogan took the opportunity to reassure those present at the European Association of Livestock Marts’ AGM in Athlone on Saturday about the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Partnership Investment (TTIP) talks with the United States.

He said he is "aware that this is the subject of continued debate and some concern among agri-food organisations throughout Europe, including the European Association of Livestock Marts."

However, he said he wished to convey the message that a "balanced deal will see huge benefits for EU agriculture and society as a whole."

The Commissioner said that while he would be "proactive in promoting the opening of this important market to high quality EU product," he would not "compromise on EU food quality or traceability standards.

"I can assure you that this principle will be upheld across the Commission and will be fully reflected in our negotiations with the US," he said.

"EU standards will not be sacrificed on the altar of this, or any other, trade deal," he continued. "The increased protection of European geographical indications food products is one of our key priorities in the TTIP negotiations. In recent years, the EU has been very successful in obtaining increased protection for hundreds of its famous geographical indications. We are very confident that we will obtain a positive outcome in TTIP as well."

As regards beef, the Commissioner moved to address fears surrounding the contraction of Irish beef output by a possible €50 million by saying the Commission is very aware that the capacity to open the EU beef market is limited.

"We will be diligent in exploring and pursuing a TTIP outcome which delivers adequate protection for our beef producers while at the same time providing reasonable market access to US exporters. I also strongly encourage producers to avail of the increasing export opportunities available through already concluded trade agreements."

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