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France-Spain-Italy-Portugal Fruit and Vegetables Joint Committee highlights the importance of applying mirror clauses on imports

The Spanish Secretary General of Agriculture and Food, Fernando Miranda, co-chaired the 27th Plenary of the France-Spain-Italy-Portugal Fruit and Vegetables Joint Committee, held in Lisbon. This meeting served to address issues such as the importance of the implementation of mirror clauses in the export rules of third countries to guarantee the plant protection of EU productions and ensure competition on equal terms in the markets.

After two years without such meetings being held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this edition brought together around fifty professionals representing the main fruit and vegetable sectors of the four countries. As is traditional, those present at the meeting reviewed the issues of interest for the sector that have been the subject of analysis by professionals from the member countries during 2021 and 2022.

Under a specific point on the agenda, the committee addressed the issue of foreign trade and analyzed the trade agreements under negotiation and review, as well as the state of discussions on the reciprocity of standards for agricultural products imported by the European Union.

The professionals and administrations of the four countries agreed that the reciprocity of standards is a basic issue to ensure the ability to compete on equal terms with the productions of third countries and also to advance in the protection of the environment and human health, not only in the EU, but also in other countries.

The participants also stressed the need to seek tools for the protection of European productions against pests from third countries. In this area, they highlighted the adoption, on May 25, of specific measures at Community level that involve a real strengthening of border protection, such as the implementation of cold treatment for orange imports, demanded by Spain, and increased controls for black spot, both issues of great importance for the preservation of plant health in the EU.

The heads of the administrations of the four countries reiterated their commitment and support to this joint committee, which since its establishment 20 years ago by France and Spain has been expanding, in a first phase to Italy in 2010, and in a second phase to Portugal from 2019. The four countries that are part of this forum account for about 55% of the EU's fruit and vegetable production.

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