Food and drink exports to non-EU countries have almost doubled over the past decade to reach €91 billion in 2014. Thanks to steady export growth since 2009 the industry registered last year a trade surplus of €25 billion. Despite this strong track record, access to third country markets remains constrained by trade barriers and the decline of market share in foreign markets is a matter of concern. In the face of increased competition from new and established competitors, EU market share in global food and drink exports has declined from 20% in 2003 to 18% in 2013.
FoodDrinkEurope warmly welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to reform the promotion policy for EU agricultural and food products. It shares the Commission’s assessment that this policy is an important tool for contributing to the competitiveness of the agri-food sector. The policy has, in particular, the potential to help increase the export capacity of the entire food supply chain including Europe’s 285,000 food and drink SMEs, many of which face difficulties in accessing third markets.
On 17 October 2012, the Commission presented the proposal which will amend the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive. The proposal is complemented by an impact assessment and contains measures which will start the transition to biofuels that deliver substantial GHG savings, taking into account estimated indirect land use emissions.
The EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC has identified sustainable biofuels as one of the means to meet targets for renewable energy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transport. However, this renewable energy policy should not be at the expense of resources needed for food and water security, or in ways which distort markets for agricultural products for human consumption. For FoodDrinkEurope, food must remain the primary outlet for agricultural products.