What we do

Preserving European standards

Today, we are proud to farm to the highest agricultural standards worldwide, delivering a diverse portfolio of products. The CAP has enabled the development of the world’s most integrated single market and of the highest standards in food safety, environment, animal health and welfare. European farmers have always been careful to preserve these standards in all international negotiations.

Contributing to welfare and growth

We are also proud to contribute positively to European welfare. Indeed, the European agri-food sector represents 1/3 of Europe’s total net trade balance, equivalent to €21 billion in 2017. We are also the number one importer of rare commodities in Europe, to which we add value.

What we believe

Trading opportunities

We give preference to a multilateral approach as it is the best way to tackle agricultural trade-related aspects. We support efforts to maintain an open, transparent and multilateral trade system based on rules. We must create a more predictable international trading environment through the WTO. We have been supportive of Europe’s (bilateral) trade agenda, in spite of the challenges. Looking at the opportunities, we must further increase talks on production standards and sustainability on all counts (economic, environmental and social). These are the reasons why we supported TTIP and the trade deals with Canada, Mexico and Japan. Agreements need to be balanced within the agri-food chain; they must cover the entire food supply chain and respect our standards and the European model of production.

Vigilance and security

We cannot accept, under any circumstances, that European standards are weakened or that any farmer is penalised in the market for following them. Exports are not an objective in themselves. They should create added value that translates into benefits for farmers and agri-cooperatives. This is possible when proper conditions are fulfilled.

Finding new markets

Brexit negotiations have been high on the agenda, for farmers as well as agri-cooperatives. We believe that the future relationship between Europe and the UK should remain strong and frictionless in order to avoid damaging consequences for both UK and European farmers and agri-cooperatives. Against this backdrop, it is necessary for European agriculture to find new markets. That is why we have been supportive of the European Commission’s trade agenda in recent years.

What we call for

Balanced trade agreements

WTO reform is important in order to establish a global framework for international trade, to avoid distortions of competition and to provide a legal structure for complaints to be handled transparently. Regarding the ambitions of the European trade agenda (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, Mercosur and Indonesia), we support Europe’s efforts to find new markets, in particular in the fast-growing regions of the world. However, we believe that the agreements need to be balanced when it comes to the agricultural chapter.

Respect our European demands

Agreements need to cover the entire food chain, tackling tariffs and non-tariff barriers and respecting geographical indications. They must recognise European single entities and principles of regionalisation, respect our standards and the European model of production. As far as the Mercosur discussions are concerned, we believe that the market access offer on the table is too ambitious and that climate change and SDG commitments need to be taken into account.

Added value for farmers

Finally, we call for proper implementation of free trade agreements, including evaluation of and proactive communication on the benefits of trade deals. Exports are not an objective in themselves; the goal is to create added value that will translate into benefits for farmers and agri-cooperatives.
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