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FEFAC urges EU Commission to make feed top priority in WTO talks

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


The European Compound Feed Manufacturers Federation, FEFAC, is urging the European Commission to put the E.U. livestock and feed sector at "the top of its priorities" during the upcoming World Trade Organization agricultural trade negotiations.

In a news release, FEFAC President Yves Montecot said: "The previous negotiations seriously hampered the competitiveness of the E.U. livestock industry. This time, the E.U. Commission should take a high profile (to defend the E.U. livestock sector) and to restore a level playing field between E.U. livestock operators and their competitors from third countries."

FEFAC identified three points it said should be non-negotiable in the E.U. position:

• Non-trade issues " such as regulations on animal welfare, nitrates, antibiotics and environmental protection " should be included in the WTO talks as a first step toward trade partners' recognition of E.U. statutory standards;
• individual animal product lines (the eight-digit CN code) should receive special attention to assure no loopholes are created for E.U. livestock markets; and
• Brazil, Thailand, Argentina and all similar efficient livestock exporters should no longer be classified as developing countries and should not benefit from special treatment in trade issues.

Montecot pointed out that the E.U. feed, livestock and related industries had supported new mandatory standards developed since 1996 and had borne the costs, as competitors entering the E.U. market were not required to meet the same standards.

"The time has come now for E.U. authorities to prove that they are consistent and can guarantee to E.U. consumers that the products they find on retailers' shelves really meet E.U. standards, wherever they come from," Montecot said.

FEFAC noted that E.U. poultry imports had doubled between 1999 and 2002 and already represented 9% of total E.U. poultry consumption. Brazil and Thailand currently account for 24% and 8%, respectively, of the world poultry market, the group said.

FEFAC represents 15 national feed associations in 14 E.U. member states, along with four associations with observer member status.

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