The European Union should stop importing agricultural goods made using pesticides that are banned within the bloc, the EU’s top farming official said on Thursday.
“Regarding imports, I don’t think we can allow the import of products made with pesticides that are banned in Europe,” the EU’s Agriculture Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, said during a video hearing with French senators.
The EU has outlawed a large number of crop chemicals in recent years on health and environmental grounds, and the bloc’s executive aims to reduce pesticide use by 50% by 2030.
The EU’s approach to food standards and environmental protection has contributed to farming being a stumbling block in trade negotiations, notably with the United States.
Wojciechowski, speaking through an interpreter, said difficulties could arise in this area given the need to follow World Trade Organisation rules, but that imports should be subject to the same standards applied in Europe.
European farmers, environmental activists and some politicians have long criticised the EU for being inconsistent in not applying the same rules to imported foodstuffs, such as genetically modified crops.
A trade agreement signed by the EU with the Mercosur bloc of South American countries fuelled controversy over farming and environmental standards, prompting some EU states to back away from ratifying the deal.