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Gildernew confirms resolution to restrictions on weanling trade to Italy

16 December, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has today confirmed that the difficulties being experienced by exporters of weanling cattle to Italy should now be resolved.

Italian authorities have confirmed to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) that they are planning to lift additional testing restrictions.

Discussing the resolution, the minister commented:

"This is welcome news and I am hopeful that this trade will resume under the conditions that existed prior to August."

The additional post-import testing procedures were introduced following the export of calves from England to the Continent, which later proved to be TB-infected. The net effect was to make it less viable for farmers here to export weanlings to this important emerging market.

The minister added:

"It was vital to secure this commitment from Italy so that our farmers are able to trade on a level playing field with their competitors from other countries." ENDS

Note to Editors

  1. Exports of weanlings from here to Italy had been disrupted due to additional post-movement restrictions being introduced by the Italian authorities.
  2. DARD had provided assurances to the Italian authorities about the testing regime for bovine TB in the North of Ireland.

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