Freshfel Europe, a body that represents fresh produce trade across the continent, has welcomed the EU’s decision to revise its strategy aimed at tackling challenges impacting the fresh fruit and vegetables trade.
The European Commission has launched a review of the European Union's trade policy, which includes a public consultation seeking input from the European Parliament, member states, stakeholders and civil society.
The fresh produce sector has urged the European Commission to enhance the assertiveness of its approach to trade policy, with particular focus on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers - a factor that deeply impacts the ability of the sector to exploit its full potential to trade.
SPS facilitations with trade partners will ensure faster, less burdensome access to fruit and vegetables markets in third countries, Freshfel Europe added.
Some of the facilitation measures include multilateral WTO and IPPC commitments, SPS Chapters in FTAs, or other bilateral agreements, both formal or informal.
Reversing Negative Trends
These measures are essential in reversing the current negative trends in fresh produce exports from the EU and gaining access to new markets amid an uncertain trade environment due to the pandemic, according to Freshfel Europe.
Freshfel Europe also emphasised on the need to assist key partners, particularly developing countries, to keep up with legislation and standards to ensure regular supply of a range of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables in the EU markets.
The process of opening third country fresh produce markets to the EU will also require reinforced internal coordination among EU services, member states and the private sector.
The sector expects that the prompt appointment of the chief trade enforcement officer will enable the effective implementation of measures, Freshfel Europe said.
Environmental And Digital Objectives
According to Freshfel Europe, the revised trade strategy will also contribute to the EU’s green and digital objectives.
It believes that the EU should effectively assist trade partners to achieve environmental goals through so-called Green Alliances, as outlined in the Farm to Fork Strategy.
In terms of technical support, the EU should extend support to fresh produce suppliers in Africa and the Americas to ensure that suppliers can meet EU requirements, it added.
In addition, Freshfel Europe feels that the EU should translate its ambitions to become ‘fit for the digital age’ into concrete solutions that facilitate trade operations.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.