EU farmers expect trade policy shift with Biden

Madrid, Jan 23 (EFE) .- The Committee of Community Agrarian Organizations (COPA) hopes that the arrival of Joe Biden to the US presidency will favor a rapid change in trade policy and a solution to the tariffs on food Spanish and other countries.

The vice president of COPA, the Spanish Pedro Gallardo, underlines, in an interview with Efe, that Biden “opens the hope” that the current commercial relationship between the European Union (EU) and the US will improve.

It alludes to Washington within a review of the prospects for the field in 2021, on the eve of the first Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the EU of the year, which will be held next Monday by videoconference, and which will address the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) and trade policy.

In addition to being one of the vice-presidencies of COPA, Gallardo is vice-president of the agrarian organization Asaja, he belongs to the fourth generation of farmers -who has secured a fifth with his son, he says-, in a farm dedicated to cereals and sunflower near Puerto Real (Cádiz).

Among the priorities, the operation of the agri-food transit after Brexit stands out, for which “a corridor” like the one that was established with the goods at the beginning of the pandemic calls for.

He also regrets that from the EU funds for post-covid reconstruction the possibilities for aid to agriculture “are fragile”.

On the other hand, it warns of aging in the EU countryside where, “for every farmer under 35, there are 5 over 65”.

HOPE FOR THE END OF TARIFFS

“We understand that (Biden) opens the hope that this will change and the tariffs will be abolished as soon as possible,” Gallardo emphasizes, referring to the customs taxes that the US applies to products such as table olives, olive oil or the cheeses of Spain, in retaliation for the commercial litigation crossed by the aid to the consortiums Airbus and Boeing.

“It doesn’t make sense that a dispute over two aeronautical multinationals causes losses to the field,” he says.

As for the idea of ​​reactivating the negotiations between the EU and the US of the Free Trade and Investment Agreement (TTIP), which has circulated this week in forums such as the European Parliament, COPA has not set its position.

However, as vice president of Asaja, Gallardo recalled that at the time this organization did support promoting these conversations, considering that they could favor exports such as olive oil, cheese and ham.

RECONSTRUCTION TO MODERNIZE THE FIELD

COPA has requested that farmers be able to access post-COVID reconstruction funds and, according to Gallardo, the Twenty-seven agreement represented a lower endowment than that circulated during the negotiations.

Of the total of 140,000 million of the EU, 7,500 were set for rural development, compared to 15,000 that were considered.

At this time, Gallardo points out that governments must implement programs so that these funds contribute to digitization and improve broadband or irrigation in rural areas: “Let them go to the farmers and not fix the sidewalks of the towns or the facades “.

In relation to the CAP, he insists on the need for the EU to close an agreement in the first semester to give certainty about the future of this policy in the next 10 or 20 years, and among the open questions he cites environmental obligations and measures in the face of market crises.

The Council of Ministers of the EU (representatives of the governments) proposes that the “eco-schemes” (aid to comply with practices beneficial to the environment) reach 20% of direct subsidies, a cap that is also defended by COPA.

But the European Parliament wants to raise that percentage to 30%.

Gallardo insists on the increase in environmental obligations included in the European Green Pact and demands that they also be required of imported products.

To combat climate change, he defends including advances in gene editing on the agenda and distinguishing them from the EU’s treatment of GMOs.

Mercedes rooms

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