"The EU is facing restrictions on exports to important agro-food markets"

In the debate for the reform of the CAP that will continue during the first part of this year, and foreseeing that legislative proposals will be presented before the summer of 2018, FEPEX considers the point related to the global dimension of the CAP (included in the Communication of the month of November) particularly relevant. In it, the Commission admits that "the EU is facing restrictions on the exports to important agro-food markets in third countries due to unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary barriers."

On the one hand, in the Communication entitled "The future of food and agriculture", which as the Commission itself explains is a guidance document, it is acknowledged that the EU is the world's largest exporter of agro-food products and that further trade liberalization and a more intense participation in global value chains will allow the EU agro-food sector to further develop exports." Therefore, it proposes a pro-active orientation in favour of global agro-food trade.

On the other hand, the Commission also proposes taking a defensive stance in commercial policy for certain sectors. It explains that "it cannot be ignored that there are specific agricultural sectors that cannot resist the full liberalization of trade and free competition against imports." It also acknowledged that the EU's agricultural sector suffers disadvantages as a consequence of trade agreements. In particular, it states that it is necessary "to explore ways to address the geographical imbalances of the advantages and disadvantages that affect the agricultural sector within the EU as a result of trade agreements."

For FEPEX, combining both trends is an arduous task due to the diversity of sectors and interests involved in any commercial negotiation. For the EU's fruit and vegetable sector, it is crucial to pinpoint markets that really offer export opportunities and to try to put an end to those restrictions, which exist due to unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary barriers.

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