A new European Commission (EC) study of the cumulative effects of future EU-based trade agreements, has concluded that the likely impact on the agri-food sector will be “broadly positive” with pigmeat highlighted as a sector which should gain most from such agreements.
Copa & Cogeca, however, who represent Europe farmers and farm cooperatives, was quick to question such a positive verdict, urging the EC to take a “deeper look” at the issues involved.
“Significant gains are anticipated for the EU dairy and pigmeat sectors,” said the EC in an overview comment on the study which looked at the likely impact of 12 potential agreements.
The Commission also noted, however, that the study shows some agreement “vulnerabilities” for other sectors, a comment which Copa & Cogeca took as the basis for its own expression of a less positive view.
Copa president, Martin Merrild, said, in fact, that his reading of the study merely confirmed that the EU meat sector could be hit hard by some trade deals. That’s unless conservative tariff rate quotes on imports are also imposed as part of any new agreement.
He also questioned how much gain EU pig producers would actually make from such trade deals.
“Based on the methodology selected for this study, I believe the Commission is underestimating the fragile state of the EU pork sector and beef sectors,” said Mr Merrild (pictured above). “A deeper analysis which differentiates between carcass cuts and different qualities would be needed in order to develop the right EU meat strategy and maintain the EU’s production potential.”