Introduction of safeguard measures for agricultural products in trade agreements (own-initiative opinion)

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Avizul CESE: Introduction of safeguard measures for agricultural products in trade agreements (own-initiative opinion)

Key points

  • The competitive advantage of third country producers which are not required to comply strictly with European standards is significant. Thus, in the last agreement signed with Canada, the Canadian producers had the possibility to apply a quarantine for phytosanitary products banned in the EU, such as atrazine, which significantly reduces their production cost. Countries in North and South America use genetically modified seeds authorised for marketing in the EU but not for production, particularly for vegetable proteins such as soya.
  • The introduction of mirror measures in EU rules on imports should, on the one hand, ensure the same protection for consumers regardless of the origin of the products and, on the other hand, limit economic distortions for European operators
  • Commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions are a major international challenge. If some countries do not respect them, they should not benefit from them in terms of trade. A carbon border adjustment mechanism should be put in place in the agri-food sector. Due to its complexity, and pending its approval, safeguard clauses specific to the Paris Agreement should be obtained from the WTO and included in all free trade agreements negotiated by the European Commission.