BRUSSELS: Agro-food cooperative confederations in Spain, Italy (Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane), France (FLCOOP), Belgium (VBT), the Netherlands (DPA) and Poland (KZGPOiW) have called for greater involvement of EU institutions in the opening of new markets (such as other countries in the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United States, Mexico, Chile and Mercosur countries). The request was made with the participation of a representative of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament and another of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture, who were urged to enforce “a genuine common commercial policy” and to reduce the export tariffs.
The Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of the Region of Murcia, Fecoam, through its national confederation, Cooperativas Agroalimentarias España, participated in this ‘International Meeting of European Fruit and Vegetable Cooperatives: Access to new markets in third countries’.
At this meeting there was also a call to reinforce the EU’s “aggressive” trade policy towards third countries, with which trade agreements have been signed (Caribbean countries, Turkey, Ukraine and South Africa, among others). In 2016, the total number of such countries reached 32, compared to 23 in 2015. The next goal to expand the amount of destinations for the Union’s agricultural products is to enter Canada, where diplomatic visits will be made in May to try opening this North American giant to the European sector.
Another request is for the Union to enforce “a true common trade policy,” which would facilitate the diversification of European fruit and vegetable exports. Another of the requests of the organizations that participated in the event was for the Union to prevent phytosanitary protocols from “acting as barriers to export,” according to reports from Cooperativas Agroalimentarias España.
Furthermore, the sector once again showed its dissatisfaction with tariff barriers, so they requested the development of “truly effective” free trade agreements. These measures would be aimed at the further opening up of markets after the huge imbalance caused by the so-called ‘Russian veto’ to products coming from the European Union.
To achieve this goal, the European budget of 111 million Euro in 2015 will increase to almost 200; a sign of the European institutions’ strong commitment to giving a boost to its agriculture in the world.