EU to open farm trade talks with Euro-Med countries –

EU to open farm trade talks with Euro-Med countries Published:  16 November, 2005

THE European Union has agreed to open negotiations with its Euro-Mediterranean partners to further open up trade in fresh and processed agricultural and fisheries products. The aim of the talks is to achieve wide-ranging trade liberalisation by 2010, as foreseen in the ‘Barcelona Declaration’ signed in 1995. The negotiations will cover all products as well as non-trade aspects such as rural development, technical barriers to trade, sanitary issues and quality policy. They must also take account of the particular sensitivity of certain products in both the EU and the Euro-Med countries.

Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “Trade liberalisation is one of the priorities in our European Neighbourhood Policy. The liberalisation of agricultural trade would bring considerable benefits for both sides, helping to generate growth, create jobs and boost investment. Of course, we must proceed gradually and take account of the genuine sensitivities surrounding certain products.”

Joe Borg, Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs commented: “I believe that trade liberalisation in fisheries products will bring economic benefits and will help strengthen co-operation in ensuring sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean.”

In an effort to strengthen the Barcelona Process, Euro-Med Ministers of Foreign Affairs agreed in May 2005 to recommend the adoption of a Roadmap to reach a high degree of reciprocal liberalisation for trade in agricultural, processed agricultural products and fisheries, including non-trade aspects.

This process will be achieved progressively to ease the different partners’ adaptation to free trade. The negotiations should also take into account the basic principles of the European Neighbourhood Policy, including an efficient implementation of its Action Plans, which could include non-trade activities or accompanying measures which may be financed under the future ENP Instrument.

The negotiations should be concluded in sufficient time to allow the entry into force of the revised agreements preferably on January 1, 2007. This would allow the implementation of the necessary adjustments over a reasonable transition period, so as to achieve trade liberalisation by 2010 as foreseen in the Barcelona Process.

Senior officials kicked off the process at the first meeting of the Follow-up Committee for the Euro-Mediterranean Roadmap for Agriculture in Brussels, held on Monday. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish European Fish Trader, Fishing Monthly, Fish Farming Today, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.