The sugar management committee yesterday voted on a Commission Regulation
opening an import quota of 200,000 tonnes of sugar without import duties.
The quota shall only be used for the manufacturing of industrial products
(chemicals, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, bio-ethanol). This measure is taken in
accordance with the Regulation on the common organisation of the markets in
the sugar sector which stipulates that the Commission may suspend the
application of import duties on certain quantities of sugar in order to
guarantee the supply necessary for the manufacturing of industrial products.
The Regulation enters into force after adoption by the Commission (in the
next few weeks) and is limited to the 2006/2007 marketing year.
As proposed by Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for
Agriculture and Rural Development, to Mohamed Rachid, Egyptian Minister of
Foreign Trade and Industry, the Commission and Egypt held a First round of
negotiations on further liberalisation of trade in agriculture, processed
agricultural and fishery products between Egypt and the European Union on
7-8 February 2007 in Cairo. The negotiations are based on the spirit of the
process set out in the 2005 Rabat Roadmap, which aims at wide-ranging
liberalisation of trade in agriculture, processed agricultural and fishery
products between the EU and the countries of the southern Mediterranean
which are covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Association
Agreement. The ambition is a Free Trade Area by 2010. At the same time,
following the enlargement of the European Union to include Bulgaria and
Romania as of 1 January 2007, the Commission and Egypt discussed a technical
adaptation Protocol to extend the provisions of the Association Agreement to
the two new Member States.
Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development,
will visit Washington on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 February for meetings with
leading figures in the Administration and Congress. The Commissioner will
meet Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Trade Representative Susan Schwab,
as well as the new chairmen of the agriculture committees of the Senate and
House of Representatives, Tom Harkin and Collin Peterson. She will give a
speech, attend a joint meeting with members of the House Agriculture
Committee and meet a number of other leading members of Congress and farm
lobbies. The visit comes in the wake of the relaunch of the Doha Round of
world trade talks and a week after the publication of the Bush
Administration's proposals for the new Farm Bill.
A Commission Decision approving the protection, surveillance and buffer zones set up in the UK due to the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in Suffolk was endorsed by Member States today. At the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, the UK delegation gave an update of the action being taken in response to the confirmed outbreak of the virus on a large turkey farm last week.
At today's meeting, the Commission stressed again that, in order to
reduce the risk of avian influenza, Member States must maintain heightened
surveillance and biosecurity, in conformity with EU measures which have been
implemented since 2005. Member States were asked to review the measures that
they currently have in place and advised to keep poultry indoors in
identified high risk areas.
The future of quality certification schemes, their functioning in the internal market as well as their benefits and potential were examined and discussed by stakeholders and experts at the Conference "Food Quality Certification - Adding Value to Farm Produce" in Brussels, 5-6 February 2007. The conference brought together stakeholders and representatives of all interested parties. It follows a 2-year "Food Quality Schemes" pilot project undertaken by the Commission's research arm, the Joint Research Centre.
This new report covers cereals, oilseeds, sugar, meat, eggs, milk and the main dairy products. The medium-term projections depict an outlook for the EU cereal markets with largely balanced markets with, however, significant risks of regional imbalances and public stocks for maize in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The sugar markets are characterised by growing internal and world markets with the main risks related to the slow take-up of restructuring. The poultry and pig meat sector should also exhibit relatively favourable medium-term perspectives, however with a slower growth than in the last decade. Beef production, on the other hand, is expected to fall as a consequence of the CAP reform and the declining dairy herd, leading to the widening of the trade deficit. The market balance for the major dairy products is expected to improve over the medium term, with increasing cheese production and consumption, but lower availabilities of butter and SMP. The medium-term income projections display a rather favourable outlook as the EU-27 agricultural income would grow by 23.2% between 2005 and 2013 in real terms and per labour unit (9.3% in the EU-15, 37.1% in the EU-10 and 105.1 % in EU-2).
"EU agriculture in a globalised world" (Event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, 09/02/2007)
New blog entry: "From Davos to Washington" (06/02/2007)
Closing remarks (Conference on "Food Quality Certification - Adding Value to Farm Produce", Brussels, 06/02/2007)
"Quality is the (present and) future for European agriculture" (Conference on "Food Quality Certification - Adding Value to Farm Produce", Brussels, 05/02/2007)
"Ways forward to a future EU Common Agricultural Policy" (Conference
"Mind the CAP", Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 01/02/2007)