IFA CALL ON EU COMMISSION TO ABANDON FREE TRADE POSITION ON AGRICULTURE

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IFA CALL ON EU COMMISSION TO ABANDON FREE TRADE POSITION ON AGRICULTURE
11 Nov 2010

IFA CALL ON EU COMMISSION TO ABANDON FREE TRADE POSITION ON AGRICULTURE

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IFA President John Bryan said it is time for the EU Commission to abandon their current stance on the Mercosur and WTO trade talks and start afresh with a framework that fully recognises the gulf in standards that exists between Europe and other countries.

He said the concerns raised by Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos about the impact of the EU Commission’s trade policy on European and Irish producers must form the basis for a fundamental re-think about the approach to WTO and Mercosur negotiations.

John Bryan said, coming in the same week as the Court of Auditors ruling on sugar reform, the intervention by Commissioner Ciolos signals the need for a shake-up in Commission trade policy.

Mr Bryan said the sugar reform debacle highlighted the grave dangers of pursuing a free trade agenda that was driven by world trade talks, and which failed to recognise the damage that it could inflict on food production and farming in Europe. “The EU Commission must heed the lessons of this disastrous experience and ensure that any future trade negotiations do not undermine food security or the capacity of farm families to make a living from the land.”

He said, “The Agriculture Commissioner is correct to question why the high standards that apply to farmers in Europe are not taken into consideration when trade negotiations take place. It is grossly unfair to pursue a trade deal that fails to take account of the difference in standards between the EU and third countries. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso cannot ignore the valid issues raised by Commissioner Ciolos.”

Ahead of next week’s publication of proposals for the Common Agriculture Policy post-2013, John Bryan said the importance of food security for Europe’s population of 500 million people should be the guiding principle for policymakers.

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