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EU egg industry calls for Fair Trade, Not Free Trade

Delegates from the EU’s egg industry lobbied MEPs on 23 April to highlight the real concerns of the egg industry ahead of proposed new Free Trade Agreements.

The EU egg industry fears that the proposed Free Trade Agreements between the EU and a number of non-EU countries such as the USA, the Mercosur group of South American countries and Ukraine will seriously undermine its competitiveness.

EUWEP (the EU association representing egg packers, traders and egg processors) President Arend Mijs said; 

“The moves towards bilateral free trade agreements between the EU and a number of agricultural power-houses threaten to have a significant impact on the European egg industry.

”Secretary-General, Mark Williams, went on to say, “due to the higher costs of production in the EU, it is already significantly cheaper to produce an egg in the USA or Brazil. Europe’s egg industry competes in a global market and this is not a level playing field, as higher regulation and costs, as a result of the higher standards demanded by EU consumers, have a profound impact. That difference has increased significantly since the EU ban on conventional battery cages came into force in 2012.”

MEPs heard Williams present findings from a report into the competitiveness of the EU Egg Industry, published by the LEI, part of Wageningen University in The Netherlands, which highlighted the problems the EU is likely to face.

Williams continued, “The EU egg industry is highly efficient and is proud to deliver to consumers high standards of food safety, animal welfare and protection of the environment. We are asking that any imports from countries outside of the EU are produced to the same standards. We strongly believe that this is what EU consumers expect. 

“While the EU egg industry has and will continue to do everything in its power to maximise its own competitiveness, it is important that policy makers do take account of the conditions under which it operates. There has been much talk of free trade, but free trade must also be fair trade. The removal of import tariffs will make the task of competing impossible and that is why we are seeking special status to ensure that EU consumers can continue to receive high quality EU produced eggs and egg products.

”The well-attended reception was hosted by Northern Ireland’s long-serving MEP Jim Nicholson who said, “the egg industry in the EU has raised genuine concerns. Our role is to ensure that this successful industry is not disadvantaged in these trade negotiations.” 

Posted on: 06 August 2013

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