FruitVegetablesEUROPE asks the EU not to sacrifice the EU Agricultural sector in the negotiations with the UK

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Tue 14/07/2020

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Press Release

It is imperative and urgent that the EU takes into consideration all productive sectors of the European Union equally: Agriculture, Industry and Services.

“The announced tariffs would make EU exports unfeasible to UK compared to other origins with 0% tariff.

  • UK is the third destination for the EU export, after Germany and France.
  • EU producers and exporters have spent years opening and consolidating UK’s premium market orientated to high quality products where taste, freshness and safety are the main requirements.
  • Unfortunately, there is no alternative premium market for EU production and the Russian market is still closed.
  • Future Trade Agreement between the EU-UK should have: a free trade area with customs and regulatory cooperation; No tariffs for EU fruit and Vegetables and swift procedures.

Brussels, 14/07/2020. FruitvegetablesEUROPE has sent a letter to Brexit – Chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to reiterate EU fruit and vegetables producers deep concerns regarding the negotiations for a future Trade Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and particularly, the impact that UK import tariffs will have on the European fruit and vegetables producing/exporting sector.

In the letter, FruitvegetablesEUROPE recalled that UK left the EU on 31st January 2020 and is now in a transition period. During this period the UK effectively remains in the EU’s customs union and single market. The British government has made clear that the UK must leave the customs union and single market. At the same time, the UK wants as much access as possible for its goods and services to the EU. Now, negotiations on a trade Agreement between the EU and UK have been proceeding for several months with no real progress. If no trade agreement has been agreed and ratified by the end of the year, then the EU faces the prospect of tariffs on exports to UK.

FruitVegetablesEUROPE considers that putting tariffs on EU fruit and vegetables would have a catastrophic impact on the EU exporting sector, as UK is the third destination for the EU export, after Germany and France. Furthermore, EU exporters will have to compete with 3rd countries which are exempted from this tariff rate (Mediterranean and southern hemisphere competitors already have preferential agreements signed at 0% tariff rate) and don’t meet EU high quality, social, environmental and phytosanitary standards. EU producers and exporters have spent years opening and consolidating UK’s premium market orientated to high quality products where taste, freshness and safety are the main requirements. Unfortunately, there is no alternative premium market for EU production and the Russian market is still closed. In that sense, FruitVegetablesEUROPE reiterates that the future trade relationship between the EU and the UK is crucial for the EU fruit and vegetable sector.

FruitVegetablesEUROPE asked the EU not to sacrifice the EU Agricultural sector in the negotiations with the UK. It is imperative and urgent that the EU takes into consideration all productive sectors of the European Union equally: Agriculture, Industry and Services.

Therefore, FruitVegetablesEUROPE has called upon the European Commission to actively negotiate to reach an agreement on:

  • the maintenance of a free trade area with customs and regulatory cooperation;
  • the absence of tariffs for EU fruit and Vegetables. In the event of no deal by the 31st December 2020, a moratorium on the application of tariffs should be applied for EU fruit and vegetables.
  • to put in place swift procedures so that import documents could be processed in real time.

This will allow the flow of EU exports of fresh fruit and vegetables to the UK to be maintained, and will avoid market uncertainty and speculation.

FruitvegetablesEUROPE, as the main EU sectoral Association representing the EU fruit and vegetables producers and exporters, will continue working, vis-à-vis, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to obtain a fair EU-UK trade agreement and to alleviate its negative impact on the fruit and vegetable sector. Furthermore, FruitvegetablesEUROPE will continue promoting the EU fruit and vegetables through its European promotion strategy “CuTE – Cultivating the Taste of Europe”.

Juan Marín, President, said: “The future trade relationship between the EU and the UK is crucial for the EU fruit and vegetable sector. Putting tariffs rate on EU fruit and vegetables would have a catastrophic impact on the EU exporting sector, as UK is the third destination for the EU export, after Germany and France”.

Inmaculada Sanfeliu, Vicepresident FruitVegetablesEUROPE and Director general Spanish Citrus Management Committee, highlighted: “The announced tariffs of 16% for mandarins, 10% for oranges, and 6% for lemons would make EU exports unfeasible to UK compared to other origins with 0% tariff. The example of the EU citrus sector can be extrapolated to the whole EU fruit and vegetables sector. Therefore, UK’s tariffs will have a catastrophic effect on the EU fruit and vegetables exporting sector, as there is no alternative premium market for EU production. Even more, with the Russian market still closed.”

Alba Ridao-Bouloumié, Secretary General, stressed: “UK is a consolidated market for EU producers and exporters. Currently, there is no alternative market for the EU production. Even more, with the Russian market still closed. Consequently, the EU must guarantee the maintenance of a free trade area with customs and regulatory cooperation with the UK. As well as the absence of tariffs for EU fruit and Vegetables. Furthermore, it would be necessary to establish swift procedures so that export documents could be processed in real time. This will allow the flow of EU exports of fresh fruit and vegetables to the UK to be maintained, and will avoid market uncertainty and speculation.”