Irish MEP. Chris MacManus has called on EU support for the Irish lobster fishing industry in responce to the Commission’s US tariff free deal
An Irish MEP has called on the European Union to support the Irish lobster fishing industry following the removal of import tariffs on American lobsters into the EU by former Trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan.
On Friday, 21 August, it was announced that a preliminary deal had been struck between the USA and the EU which would see tariffs lifted for five-years on a range of goods between the two blocs. In exchange for the US lifting tariffs on cigarette lighters, cut-glass and other trinkets from the EU, Phil Hogan and his team agreed to allow the import of live American lobsters tariff free into the EU.
This had been met with severe opposition from the Irish inshore industry who have been devastated over the past 12 months.
In a joint statement the National Inshore Fishermen’s Association and the National Inshore Fishermen’s Organisation called it “a kick in the teeth” in what was the last act from the former Trade Commissioner who was forced to resign over his attendance at an Óireachtas Golfing Event in Clifden, Co Galway where 81 influential figures.
The new agreement with the US would see tariffs dropped for the previous 8% but still needs approval from the EU Member States governments and the European Parliament.
In response to the recent worrying developments, Sinn Féin’s Chris MacManus, MEP said “The EU must support Irish Lobster Fishers following removal of US lobster tariff”
The Sinn Féin representative called on EU authorities to announce financial support for Irish fishers to be introduced criticising the Commissioner’s decision not to consult with Irish fishing representative groups.
MacManus said “This is already a hugely damaging time for Ireland’s fishing communities. Covid-19 and an impending Brexit has left the sector struggling. The decision to now allow tariff-free imports of US lobster will have a major detrimental effect on Ireland’s inshore small fleet fishermen whose livelihoods are undoubtedly now at risk.”
The Midlands Northwest MEP was critical of the Commission and Irish government. “The non-engagement of the Commission and the now resigned Fine Gael appointed Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan in advance of entering this free trade agreement is deeply disappointing. It’s a real kick in the teeth for Ireland’s fishers.
“It is yet another example of the now too familiar pattern of the Irish fishing sector being treated disgracefully by successive Irish Governments.”
MacManus concluded: “I will be seeking additional information as to how this trade agreement came about, exactly what benefits European citizens can expect to get as a result of this ‘deal’ but most importantly I will demand details as to what financial supports will be now put in place for Irish lobster fisher who will suffer as a result of this deal”