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High food standards are key to trade talks – MEP Kelly tells European Parliament

Published: Tue, 29 May 2018

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The importance of maintaining high food standards has been underlined by Seán Kelly MEP, author of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade’s Opinion on the Future of Food and Farming, during a debate in Strasbourg ahead of a vote tomorrow.

“On behalf of the Committee on International Trade (INTA), I want to say that I am very proud of our farmers and the food they produce in the European Union. Indeed as the trade committee, the INTA committee, we are very pleased also to note that we have had a positive trade balance in relation to the products we have produced for eight years in a row now.

“This is because of the standards which are applied within Europe and which are set and monitored by the Commission, and they deserve great credit for that. And, of course, because of the high standards of our food, the safety of our food, there is growing demand for it worldwide,” Mr Kelly said during his speech to the Parliament this week.

The MEP received a strong backing from the Trade Committee for his Opinion which urges the EU to guarantee a global level playing field and to approach with the utmost care the liberalisation of market access in sensitive agricultural sectors. It can do so by considering at first hand transition periods, tariff-rate quotas, appropriate safeguarding measures, possible exclusion of the most sensitive products from the scope of agreements after a case-by-case consideration and compliance with reciprocity rules, according to Mr Kelly.

The text stresses that the maximum cumulative amounts of the agricultural concessions granted by the EU in the context of all its international undertakings must be taken into account for sensitive products and for each sector. It further highlights the importance of EU policies on the environment and development, in order to meet climate goals and the prudent use of antimicrobial medicines in order to reduce the proliferation of antimicrobial resistance.

The Ireland South MEP complimented the Agriculture Commissioner’s efforts to grow new markets especially in places like China, which is growing rapidly, and added that standards will be the key issue as will maintaining research and innovation in Europe.

“An estimated 90 percent of additional global demand for agri-food products over the next decade will come from outside Europe. We are calling on the EU agri-food sector to take advantage of the opportunities for growth offered by exports,” said Mr Kelly.

The Resolution on the Future of Food and Farming will be voted on by all MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

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