Important legal notice
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Europe's agriculture and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – frequently asked questions

The CAP and trade 

Can we still talk about Fortress Europe?

The EU has opened up its market significantly over the last two decades. Two thirds of its agricultural imports come from developing countries – more than the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan put together. Thanks to bilateral agreements, tariffs for farm imports are low for a number of countries and the 50 poorest countries in the world can export to the EU without tariff or quota limitations.

Should we erect new import barriers to protect our farmers and food?

If we erect new barriers, so will our trading partners. Europe's competitive advantage lies in providing high-value processed foods. Markets in developing countries, including China and India, offer huge opportunities for expansion in that direction.

The best way to ensure food security is to maintain a healthy two-way trade. The best way to protect our farmers is to free them to effectively compete on the world market by providing them with a steady income, which is exactly what the CAP does today.

Do the latest CAP reforms give the EU a stronger hand in WTO talks?

Yes, they do. The EU can now argue persuasively that it practises what it preaches, with an agricultural policy that meets farmers' and consumers' needs, while significantly cutting back on trade-distorting domestic subsidies and keeping the EU market open to trade with third countries.



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A picture of EU agriculture

Basic CAP facts

Why the CAP?

The cost of the CAP

CAP reforms

Fact or fiction?

Rural Development

Food prices

The CAP and the environment

The CAP and trade

The CAP and developing countries

Food quality and safety

Animal health and welfare


Agriculture and Rural Development I Top

Last update: 20-04-2011