The European Commission has recently launched a public consultation on its State aid framework in the agriculture sector, which is set to expire in December 2020. State aid control in the period 2021 to 2027 needs to be adapted to the future legal framework of the Common Agricultural Policy. The European Commission aims at strengthening the level playing field in the agriculture sector as well as fostering competitiveness and growth of the enterprises concerned.
The review of the rules is also expected to take into consideration factors related to climate and sustainable use of natural resources. European stakeholders are thus invited to provide their input to shape the future legal framework. Environmental NGOs have already advocated for an end to State aids for those agricultural practices that have a negative environmental impact, such as intensive livestock farming. However, such an option is likely to affect negatively many small and medium enterprises.
The European Commission has issued a public consultation to evaluate legislation on additives for use on animal nutrition. The review will cover substances, microorganisms or preparations added to feed to influence the feed or have an effect in the animal.
Currently, only additives that have been through an authorisation may be placed in the market and used. The review will cover the procedure for authorising feed additives. Similarly, the evaluation will deal with the rules for the placing in the market, labelling and use of additives. At the same time, the evaluation will cover all categories of additives. It will assess preservatives, antioxidants and stabilising agents. On top, it will deal with flavourings and colorants. Nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals and aminoacids will also be evaluated.
Companies and business organisations that will be affected by the review and possible amendments to the regulation should put forward their views before 3 April 2019.
The European Union has picked up President Donald Trump’s tariffs challenge and is considering responding with trade countermeasures. The WTO rules afford its members the possibility to impose temporary levies as safeguard. At the same time, it allows its members to retaliate proportionately in case the new trade restrictions are not adequately compensated within 90 days.
The European Commission is ready to exercise these retaliatory policies against the announced tariffs by the US administration, namely 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. Experts estimate that the tariffs to be imposed by President Trump could affect €6bn in steel and aluminum exports. While the EU still hopes to avoid a full-blown trade war, European Commission officials have already presented EU member states with €2.8bn list of more than 100 US products that could be affected.
The retaliation would likely affect a variety of products from sensitive Republican-dominated states, such as cosmetics and clothing, Harley-Davidson motorbikes, orange juice from Florida and bourbon-whiskey from Kentucky. This list is on hold for the time being and it would require the approval by EU member states.
The EU is determined to simplify and modernize the Common Agricultural Policy (“CAP”). This follows the 2016 findings of the Agricultural Markets Task Force and the Inception Impact Assessment, which was recently concluded.
Overall the aim of the review is to strengthen the position of European farmers and producers. More concretely, the revision will single out and address existing obstacles in the functioning of the food supply chain concerning agricultural products.
The agricultural reform will be on the agenda of the European Commission going forward. Concrete proposals will follow suit, concerning market transparency, unfair trading practices as well as monitoring of parcels with state of the art technologies.
It is expected that for one, the EU will hold large retailers more accountable towards producers in the supply chain, and secondly, that digital farming and the use of modern technologies will be further promoted. A public consultation is currently open for all stakeholders until mid-November 2017.