Agriculture News Digest
No. 164 - 9 February 2007Agriculture on Europa


Opening of duty free sugar import quota for industrial use


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.


Commission launches agriculture trade talks with Egypt


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.


Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel visits Washington


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.


Avian Influenza: UK measures endorsed; Member States urged to tighten protection measures against H5N1

06/02/2007 Also available in:

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.


Quality products catch the eye: PDO, PGI and TSG

Food Quality Schemes under the Microscope

06/02/2007 Also available in:

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.

Proceedings of the Conference


Commission publishes report on prospects for agricultural markets and income 2006-2013


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).

"Prospects for agricultural markets and income 2006-2013"


Commissioner Fischer Boel's website

Speeches by Commissioner Fischer Boel

"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)



What's new on the Commission's "Agriculture and Rural Development" website?

"Prospects for agricultural markets and income 2006-2013"