Agricultural trade is often the subject of polemic debates in civil society because it can have very diverse impacts, potentially leading to unwanted dependency. As the world's largest agricultural exporter - ahead of the USA, Brazil, China and Canada - and its largest agricultural importer - ahead of the United States, China, Japan and Russia - the EU bears a twofold and growing responsibility for worldwide nutrition and food security. The EESC welcomes the fact that the EU's agriculture and development policies are pointing in the same direction. This, it feels, is the prerequisite for making sure that the roles of trade and development are accommodated in a sustainable manner.
The rules governing global agricultural trade originate above all in different approaches to ensuring consumer and health protection in different countries. EU standards should be the basis for licences granted for imports into the EU. If multilateral negotiations in the WTO do not bear fruit, solutions must be sought at bilateral level.