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Copa & Cogeca presidents underline importance of trade

In a meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, Copa & Cogeca Presidents underlined the importance of trade to improve the critical situation on EU agricultural markets, and highlighted the need for a free trade deal with Japan in the next six months.

Speaking in Brussels, Copa President Martin Merrild said “We are starting to see signs of recovery on the EU dairy and pork markets, but they remain in a fragile state and it will take time for producers to recover their losses after such an unprecedented crisis. Reasons for the recovery are partly because demand has picked up in China and the Commission has been successful in finding new export markets. There are also free trade agreements with Japan, Mexico, Indonesia that could benefit the EU market substantially. We urge the EU to strike a free trade deal with Japan in the next 6 months, especially as it’s our second biggest export market for pork”.

“In the free trade talks with the USA (TTIP), we see both opportunities and challenges on both sides of the Atlantic. I question why there are so many protests on this in the EU when we do not know what would be in a potential deal”, he said. “For us, it’s important to lift non-trade barriers to trade as we see three-quarters of the gains to be had here. We have not seen much movement here. EU dairy producers for example face big obstacles when trying to market Grade A milk products in the US which effectively stop our exports from entering the USA. The same situation applies for our fruit and vegetable exports”, he added.

Cogeca President Thomas Magnusson went on to underline the importance of trade for agricooperatives. “We have good quality produce in the EU and it’s a good opportunity for consumers outside the EU to benefit from it. We have had a bad situation on EU agricultural markets, fueled by imbalance in the market, and it’s also important for farmers to belong to strong cooperatives to find new market outlets for produce and to enable farmers to get a better price for it”.

The Commissioner promised to take Copa & Cogeca concerns into account, saying that a cumulative impact assessment on trade is set to be released later in Autumn.

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