New study on EU agricultural protection
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CTA. 2003. New study on EU agricultural protection. Agritrade, September 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52627
The European Commission issued a press release on…
The European Commission issued a press release on July 24th 2003 concerning an independent study by the French research institute INRA (Institute National pour la Recherche Agricole) on developing-country exports to the EU. The Commission press release highlighted that the study pointed to the EU as one of the world's most open markets to imports of farm products from developing countries. According to the Commission's summary, when taking into account the trade preferences granted developing countries 'the average customs duty actually applied by the EU to farm imports is 10.5%, a figure three times lower than frequently mentioned' (for example by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)). The EC maintains that, as a consequence of this low level of protection, the EU is 'by far the world's number one importer of agricultural products, and the main importer of farm products from developing countries as well as from least developed countries.' EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said that 'these results show clearly why the EU is the most open market in the world for agricultural products from the developing countries' and that the results of the study made 'a mockery of the criticisms regularly advanced by other developed countries, none of whom import anything like the volume or value of our imports from developing countries, that the EU is protectionist in its farm policy'. Comment: It should be borne in mind that with the progress of CAP reform, involving the disbursement of direct aid payments in compensation for price declines, EU prices are being brought into line with world market prices, thereby removing the need for high levels of tariff protection. 'Protectionism' is now taking a different form involving as it does 'protecting' EU farmers from the consequences of much lower market prices. This 'protection' serves to stabilise EU production at around those levels prevailing at the time reform began, levels which were themselves distorted by the high-price policy of the EU which necessitated high tariff protection in the first place. While the EU press release on the INRA study describes the EBA measure as ' a measure of far-reaching impact', a number of studies suggest that to date, two years after the implementation of the EBA initiative it has had little impact on least developed country exports to the EU. Indeed, the press release identifies only € 6 million in trade creation arising from the implementation of the EBA initiative (including € 3 million in molasses exports from Sudan and € 1.2 million in imports of molasses and tomatoes from Senegal.