Europe is one of the biggest net exporters of agri-food products, and easy access to markets worldwide is vital for the European food and drink sector and its suppliers, farmers. Yet barriers to trade still remain: in 2016 alone, European exporters saw the number of trade barriers rise by 10%, according to a European Commission report on trade and investment barriers.
For example, one Greek manufacturer of canned peaches saw one if its key markets all but disappear when Brazil increased its import duties on canned peaches to 55%. This clear barrier to market access is in breach of the EU's market access strategy and was reported to the European Commission by the Greek canners' association and its European umbrella organisation.
The European Commission then raised the issue with Brazil and managed to remove canned peaches from the list of goods subject to high duties. As a result, the manufacturer managed to keep access to one of its key markets and maintain jobs in Greece.
This case is typical of many. Indeed, in 2016 alone, the European Commission intervened in 20 separate cases to restore normal trading conditions after barriers were imposed by other countries – chief among them South Korea, China, Israel and Ukraine – that affected EU exports worth €4.2 billion. The EU food and drink, automotive and cosmetics sectors have benefited the most from the successful intervention of the Commission to support EU exports.
27 June 2017