Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Polish express concern over EU free trade deal with dairy 'competitor' New Zealand

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

EU Ministers for Agriculture will meet in Brussels today, with trade negotiations high on the agenda.

At the meeting the Polish delegation are expected to express its concerns regarding the opening of trade negotiations with New Zealand, in particular in relation to possible negative consequences for the EU agriculture of the liberalisation of import of dairy products.

Poland will point out at the Council meeting that there are 12,000 milk processing plants in the EU. The dairy sector is the economic basis of the European agriculture and the key processing sector in less-favoured areas. Over 700,000 dairy farms cooperate with the processing sector, accounting for 14% of the EU food and beverages sector and employing over 300,000 workers.

The European dairy sector is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (over 80% of the total number of dairy producers in the majority of the EU Member States).

In recent years, over  €6 billion were invested in dairy plants in the EU in order to increase their efficiency after abandonment of the milk quota scheme and in response to the growing global demand.

The data on the size and structure of dairy cow herd, growth of production and exports of dairy products in New Zealand confirm that its dairy sector is a strong competitor for the EU dairy sector.

Taking into account the above and the mounting crisis situations in the dairy sector, Poland is of the opinion that the dairy sector should be excluded from liberalisation under the planned FTA with New Zealand.

Poland is of the opinion that the dairy sector should be excluded from liberalisation under the planned free trade agreement with New Zealand.

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The Commission will also be invited to update the Council on ongoing trade negotiations of other relevance to agriculture. Ministers will also have the opportunity to exchange views on the economic study of the cumulative impact of free trade agreements on EU agriculture.

The Council will be briefed on the current situation in the main agricultural markets, and on the implementation of the latest package of support measures. In the context of this debate, the Commission will have the opportunity to present the result of its second report on the implementation of the Milk Package, released in November 2016.

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