COPA-COGECA VOICES SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT TRADE POLICY IN MEETING WITH COMMISSIONER DE GUCHT
In a first meeting today with the new EU Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, Copa and Cogeca Presidents voiced serious concerns about the Commission’s current trade policy.
Copa President Padraig Walshe warned “The Commission cannot go on asking EU producers to meet costly regulations and then turn round and say we’d rather import cheaper food regardless of how it is produced”.
“This runs totally counter to EU citizens’ desire for the highest standards of food safety, environmental protection and animal welfare as well as the need to ensure employment and growth in rural areas throughout Europe”, he added.
“The Commission’s decision to re-open trade talks with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur is a clear example. Do EU citizens really want to become dependent on imports from the other side of the world for key food items such as meat and sugar when we have no control over how it is produced or the deforestation which will result?” he said angrily.
Cogeca President Paolo Bruni insisted “We are in favour of agreeing fair rules on trade on a multilateral basis in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) but these must establish the respect of equivalent standards. Imports must not undermine the EU’s high standards or consumer confidence as EU farmers and agri-cooperatives have heavily invested in the sector in the past five years, successfully increasing their turnover”.
“The Commissioner accepted that the EU had put a huge offer on the table on agriculture in Doha. We told him that this offer already went too far and warned him not to make any further concessions. Such a move would be totally unacceptable. It is the US’s demands for more market access from developing countries which is blocking the deal and it is up to those countries to sort out their differences”, he added.
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