Timely Report On Agriculture And Trade Hailed

26 October 2010
Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) welcomed the report drafted by his colleague in the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee on the EU and agricultural trade.
The report, drafted by Greek MEP Georgios Papastamkos, looks into the consistency between EU agricultural and common commercial policies, agriculture in the multilateral trading system (including the Doha Development Agenda and WTO disputes) and also agriculture in plurilateral/ inter-regional/ bilateral trade relations.
Speaking after the meeting, Smith said:
"Commendations to my colleague for this solid report, there is much in it to be welcomed.
"With the commencement of the new Mercosur trade negotiations, it is high time the Commission paid some attention to what the Parliament is saying, and what our agricultural industries are saying. There was not so much as a 'by your leave' when the Commission restarted negotiations, let alone a public impact assessment or a consultation. This report will, I hope, underline to the Commission that we expect better than this in future.
"The Commission have made no secret that they are seeking 'to maximise the presence of EU goods worldwide' which, while laudable in itself, should not be the altar we see them sacrifice food security upon. If food security is at the heart of our policies then the rest will follow. For the Commission to be actively working towards a future where we ship vast amounts of food across an unstable globe when we should be developing local markets and fair prices is short-sighted.
"A principle that I will not abandon is that our standards must be applied to agricultural imports into the EU. We have seen this point shamefully overlooked with Brazilian beef in the past. Our farmers have to produce goods with the highest levels of welfare and traceability and to have such robust systems in place is no cheap job. I will not see our producers placed at an unfair disadvantage because the Commission is unwilling to enforce our standards outside the EU. It is up to our trading partners to make concessions should they seek access to our markets and I don't think the Commission should forget this.
"This report is very welcome, and I look forward to working with Mr Papastamkos so that his final paper reflects these sentiments fully."