The Spanish-French-Italian-Portuguese tomato group, which is made up of tomato producers and government representatives from these countries, met online on Thursday, May 20, and stated that the strong and continued growth of imports from Morocco was one of the main threats to the community sector.
The assistants, which did not include the Portuguese, assessed and monitored the concessions established in the framework of the Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco. According to Fepex, the agreement is being breached, for example in its cooperation clause or safeguard measures.
This clause establishes that the goal of the advantages granted to Morocco for the export of tomatoes under the Association Agreement is to maintain the level of traditional Moroccan exports to the EU. However, when the agreement was signed in 2011, Morocco exported an average of 332,231 tons of tomato to the EU (as measured from 2009 to 2011), a volume that increased to 518,190 tons by 2020 (including the United Kingdom).
The safeguard measure contained in Article 7 establishes that the importing party may adopt the measures it deems necessary to control imports if the imports subject to the concessions produce serious disturbances in the markets or cause serious damage to the productive sector. So far, the importing party, which in this case is the European Commission, has not adopted any measures.
The group also discussed the 2020 community tomato campaign, noting a decrease in the area and production in Spain, France, and Italy. Italy also had an impact on the low prices of the 2020 summer campaign, which did not exceed 50-60 cents per kilo.
Between January and March of this year, Spain exported 292,334 tons of tomato for 409 million euro, i.e. 12% less volume and 1% less value. France, however, expects to have a better production than in 2020.
According to the European Commission's Agricultural Outlook Report 2020-2030, which was published in December 2020, the Community will produce 6.2 million tons of tomatoes in 2030, i.e. 4% less than in 2019. This decrease will mainly be due to competition from Morocco and the sharp reduction in Spanish production.