New French food bill could limit non-EU food imports

Tue 12/02/2019 by Richard Wilkinson
New French food bill could limit non-EU food imports

Last autumn, the French parliament passed a new farm and food law to raise farmers’ income by distributing a larger share of the added value of food products to the producers though price intervention and production cost-based pricing. It is felt that French farmers’ lack negotiating power in the retail sector. One provision addresses imports of agricultural and food products from non- EU countries into France. If a product is treated with an herbicide or pesticide that has not been approved for use within the EU, the product cannot be imported into France. For instance, if the EU decides to ban glyphosate, according to this provision, France would be entitled to ban imports of all products that were treated with glyphosate.

French Farm groups claim France’s and the EU’s environmental and welfare regulations raise production prices and make their products uncompetitive, even within the EU. They silently support the new provision without yet providing a formal endorsement. According to most trade experts, it is not WTO compatible and is unenforceable in the context of the EU’s Common Market. The EU commission has not commented on the bill.

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