Ireland's meat processors have come out in support of the trade deal between the EU and Canada, CETA, and believe that EU Trade Ministers should approve the signing of the agreement.

While Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the body representing the processors, said that it always urges strict caution on the EU's approach to tariff-reduced or tariff-free meat import access as part of trade agreements, it supports CETA.

EU Trade Ministers are to meet tomorrow in Brussels to discuss the agreement.

Director of MII, Cormac Healy, has said that the signing of the agreement and provisional implementation from early next year would have the advantage of removing Canadian import tariffs on EU and Irish meat exports to that market.

While our Irish meat export volumes to Canada are quite low, there is a real prospect of growing business with Canada.

"Over the years, Ireland has developed an important pigmeat export trade to Canada and now there is potential to develop the export business for Irish beef and lamb also. The removal of the Canadian 26.5% import tariff would be significant," he said.

Unlike the EU-Mercosur trade negotiations, to which MII remains opposed to, Healy said the EU-Canada deal has some reciprocal benefits for the meat sector.

"MII would also like to see the European Commission re-double its efforts to bring negotiations on a trade agreement with Japan to a successful conclusion without further delay.

"There are benefits to the EU agri-food sector from a Free Trade Agreement with Japan and it is important that these negotiations are concluded as soon as possible so that competing exporters such as the USA or Australia do not gain competitive advantage in the Japanese market on foot of their recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement," he said.