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Food industry

External aspects of the EU's food industry

Industry in mountains norway © Marek Slusarczyk,

As the world's largest food exporter (20.8%) and second largest food importer (18.1%), the EU sets extremely high safety standards on all its exports and can play an important role by acting as a major international trade standard setter.

It has entered a number of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with non-EU countries.

Multilateral World Trade Organisation negotiations

The EU is one of the main driving forces of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where it negotiates on behalf of all its 27 member countries. These trade negotiations, known as the Doha Development Agenda, aim to wipe out poverty by placing development issues high among trade priorities.

Bilateral agreements for Processed Agricultural Products

The EU's trade in Processed Agricultural Products (PAP or non-annex I goods) is governed by a series of bilateral agreements. These agreements are signed by two political entities and bind only the two territories concerned. Examples include free trade agreements, economic partnerships, association agreements, and stabilisation and association agreements.

Export refunds management

  • Certificates management system
    A certificates management system ensures that the EU complies with its obligations under international agreements to limit export refunds for processed agricultural products.
  • Refunds for small exporters
    An annual reserve fund of € 40 million has been set aside for small exporters which entitles them to refunds without the need of a valid refund certificate if the applications for export refunds of each exporter do not exceed the amount of €100,000.
  • Inward processing arrangements
    Inward processing arrangements have been set up to bridge any shortfalls which may arise when refund demand for PAP exports exceeds amounts available.

Trade in Processed Agricultural Products

  • PAP export regulations
    EU legislation covering trade in PAP
  • PAP management committee
    A committee meets once a month to discuss draft measures submitted by the Commission and to ensure effective communication between Commission and member countries.

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