In the framework of a meeting with representatives of the European civil society, to be held on Thursday 21 in Brussels, the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, will present the third study on the application of Free Trade Agreements between the EU and third countries.
According to the Commission, in 2018, EU exports and imports from trade agreement partners showed positive developments, with a continuous growth of 2% and 4.6% respectively and a strong performance of EU agro-food exports.
The report also says that “sanitary and phytosanitary measures" continue to create important obstacles to EU agro-food exports;” an opinion fully shared by FEPEX, which considers that trade agreements can also be important tools to eliminate these obstacles. In this sense, FEPEX believes that one of the points that could be included in these negotiations would be the elimination of the so-called “prior dispatch,” which refers to the requirement of some third countries of having their inspectors go to the export country in order to check the item before shipping. The cost of this is usually paid by the exporter, which often makes trade unprofitable.
Likewise, the audit visits from inspectors which are also required by some third countries, in which the cultivation plots, handling warehouses, cold treatment warehouses, etc. are also examined, should also be eliminated in the negotiations carried out by the Commission.
The report on the application of the Free Trade Agreements and the civil dialogue groups are a result of the European Commission's commitment to provide more information and transparency on its trade agreements with third countries. So far, there have been three reports. The first was published on November 9, 2017, the second on October 31, 2018 and the third was made public on October 14, Now the opinion of various sectors of society will be collected through the civil dialogue group on Thursday. The report is also subject to debate for the European Parliament and the representatives of the Member States in the Council.