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Raising the bar for Europe's food industry

The food and drink industry is one of Europe's most important and dynamic industrial sectors. It is made up of about 310 000 companies, and provides jobs for more than 4 million people.

With an annual turnover in excess of €900 billion, this diverse sector is a strong exporter and is responsible for countless end products in extremely competitive domestic and international markets. But room for improvement still exists.

Excess red tape, finance shortages, a lack of R&D opportunities and difficulties to access raw materials are some of the main obstacles which must be cleared if the EU is to position itself more strongly in world markets.

The development of a trade regime which places European businesses on a level playing field with foreign competitors and the establishment of preferential agreements to give the EU food industry greater access to foreign markets, are among the most important measures that the European Commission wants to implement in order to tackle the above problems.

Throughout its whole process of drafting and enforcing regulations, the Commission tries to strike a balance between safety and competitiveness while cutting down on unnecessary red tape.

The Commission's Food Industry Unit carries out policy using a number of instruments including :

  • The export refund regime and the inward processing facility, specific to processed agricultural products, such as chocolates, confectionary, sweet drinks, biscuits, etc.
  • Trade negotiations to improve European firms' access to world markets
  • Contributing to the drafting and enforcement of legislation relevant to the food industry.

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