Copa & Cogeca warned against the new free trade deal struck between the EU and the South African Development Community (SADC) which is set to be voted on by European Parliament this week at plenary session as it increases trade concessions on imports of oranges, sugar and ethanol from these countries which will undermine EU producers and risk worsening the economic climate.

Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stressed “It is totally unacceptable that the EU is making this free trade deal without looking at the EU market impact. These new concessions will increase the period until the end of November for allowing imports of oranges from South Africa to come into the EU which will have a negative impact on EU orange producers at the start of the season when prices are the most attractive. It will certainly have a bad impact on the sector and put thousands of jobs at risk, especially in the Mediterranean countries where the current economic crisis is being felt the most”.

“We also have serious concerns about concessions being made in the sugar and ethanol sectors. The EU has proposed increasing concessions in these sectors so that the SADC will receive a duty free quota of 100 000 tonnes of raw sugar and 50 000 tonnes of white sugar as well as 80,000 tonnes for ethanol. This is unacceptable. We consequently urge MEPs to call for an impact assessment to be carried out on the agriculture sector and urge them to suspend ratification of the proposed deal when they vote in Strasbourg this week”, he said. A letter outlining the demands was sent to MEPs.

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Copa Cogeca