Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will next week visit Colombia and Mexico accompanied by a business delegation of 34 companies and producers' organisations from 14 EU Member States.
This is the first of a series of visits as part of the diplomatic offensive launched by Commissioner Hogan last year to open up new markets for EU agri-food products. Further trips are foreseen to China & Japan in April 2016 and to Vietnam and Indonesia in the second half of this year.
These come shortly after new EU promotion rules for EU agricultural products entered into force, which provide an increase budget for promotion and a simpler application system.
"I expect this visit to be intense and valuable in terms of opportunities", said the Commissioner ahead of his journey. "The Colombian and Mexican markets are thriving and provide good potential for the dairy, pigmeat, fruits and vegetables, spirits and wine sectors. I look forward to building up on our existing trade agreements and showing that Europe is open to business, in particular for agri-food products. We are also committed to support the Colombia Peace Process and we are accompanying the Colombian authorities in developing rural areas and regain surfaces for farming."
Being the first Commissioner of the Juncker Commission to visit Colombia, and the first ever Commissioner in charge of Agriculture to do so, Commissioner Hogan will meet with the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, on Monday 8 February as well as the Colombian Ministers for Trade and Agriculture.
While in Colombia, he will also participate in high-level events on the promotion of European agri-food products, on sustainable development; and will visit in Cali the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture.
Arriving in Mexico on 10 February, Commissioner Hogan will meet the Mexican Minister of Agriculture and Economy. Several visits to local producers are also planned.
In addition to the Commissioner's programme, the representatives in the business delegation will hold several business meetings on site.