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Export refund re-introduction 'Important step in the right direction' - Gildernew

22 January, 2009

The EU Dairy Management Committee today agreed to the re-introduction of export refunds for dairy products.

Welcoming the outcome of the Management Committee the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, said: "My Executive colleagues and I and have worked hard to secure the re-introduction of export refunds for dairy products which the industry has been pressing for. We would have preferred that the rate of refund for milk powders had been higher but today's decision is an important step in the right direction.

"In advance of today's meeting the DETI Minister, Arlene Foster MLA, and I wrote to the DEFRA Secretary of State, Hilary Benn MP, requesting that he guide officials attending the Dairy Management Committee meeting to support positively (or at least abstain during) discussions on the re-introduction of export refunds. I am encouraged to hear that in recognition of the problems facing the industry here, his officials abstained in the vote.

"The dairy industry makes an important contribution to the North's agri-food industry and the local economy. I hope that the outcome of today's meeting will help stabilise markets and improve the price being paid to producers. I will continue to keep the situation under review."

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