|dc.description||A fact-sheet on the EU Horticulture sector has been posted on the web. It shows that the EU is a major player in world horticulture, with 9% of world production. Around 15% of the value of EU agricultural production comes from the horticulture sector, and the EU is both a major importer and exporter. It accounts for around 11% of world exports and 25% of world imports and is thus the second largest exporter and the biggest importer of fruit and vegetables in the world. Leading products traded are citrus fruit, apples, tomatoes and onions.
The EU's main imports are bananas (3.3 million tonnes), citrus fruit (1.9 million tonnes), apples (0.7 million tonnes), grapes (0.3 million tonnes), and pineapples (0.3 million tonnes); fruit juices are also important imports. The EU's main exports are citrus fruit (1.0 million tonnes), apples (0.5 million tonnes), grapes (0.2 million tonnes), peaches and nectarines (0.2 million tonnes), onions (0.4 million tonnes) and tomatoes (0.2 million tonnes). Tomato paste and peeled tomatoes are also major EU exports.
Reform of the sector has been underway since 1996, so that a far smaller role for intervention buying is now apparent. EU support programmes in the sector are largely implemented through producer organisations. Support programmes are financed by members of producer organisations and the EU on a 50/50 basis. EU aid however is limited to 4.1% of the value of the production handled by the producer organisations. Funds can be used to finance withdrawal of products from the market at times of surpluses or to top up compensation payments. It can also be used to finance operational programmes of support. In the EU nearly 1,400 producer organisations are recognised, channelling 40% of all fruit and vegetables to the market.
The EU budget for the fruit-and-vegetable sector was €
1,650 million in 2002 (3.7% of the agricultural budget). Some 56% of this budget is for fresh fruit and vegetables. Specific aid schemes exist for: processing of tomatoes, peaches, pears and citrus fruit; dried figs and dried prunes; cultivation of grapes for drying; the storage of sultanas, currents and dried figs; nuts.
Marketing standards are established for all fruit and vegetables marketed in the EU. Agreements can be reached with third countries to implement controls on compliance with these standards. This is increasingly occurring, with approximately 45% of EU imports entering under these arrangements by the end of March 2003. This reduces the delivery time to the final consumer and lowers administrative costs.
In terms of trade arrangements, most imports take place under preferential arrangements and can be subjected to import licences. Access for some products is based on an entry-price system. ‘If import volumes of products subject to the entry-price system exceed the trigger volumes agreed within the WTO, an additional import duty may be applied'. In addition, duties for processed fruit-and-vegetable products are also levied based on the sugar content of the product. The EU pays export refunds on both fresh fruit and vegetables and certain processed fruit and vegetables on the basis of export licences, with refunds varying from country to country.
The fact-sheet profiles the product- and geographical-structure of the sector in the EU.
For non-least developed ACP countries restrictions in the fruit-and-vegetable sector offer important opportunities for the extension of further trade preferences. Currently ACP export of these products largely falls under Declaration XXII of the Cotonou Agreement (except for bananas), which includes provisions for extending preferences into new areas. ACP governments should fully exploit these provisions to further enhance access to what are currently still profitable market opportunities in the EU.
For least developed ACP countries trading under the EBA initiative, problems still exist in the processed fruit-and-vegetable sector, as a result of the continued application of restrictions on LDC sugar. As a consequence of these restrictions additional duties are charged on processed fruit-and-vegetable exports based on the sugar content of the final product. For many products this constitutes an effective barrier to trade. The EU should take immediate steps to remove this anomaly for all sugar-containing products imported from least developed countries.
Export refunds on processed fruit-and-vegetable products pose a significant threat to the development of certain fruit-and-vegetable sectors in a number of ACP countries and the EU should look to using the export-licensing system to prevent exports of these products to ACP countries which have competing production of the basic raw material.||en_US