EU Must Step Up Beef Promotion

UK - The European Union must step up its efforts to promote EU beef at home and abroad to improve the sector’s long term prospects, the National Farmers' Union has said.
calendar icon 22 July 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

We recently took part in the European Commission’s Beef Reflection Group, which met three times during June to determine an action plan for the beef sector.

The group's recommendations were presented to EU farm ministers at agriculture council this week. Responding, NFU livestock chairman said that measures to promote beef in the market place would be particularly vital.

He said: "We represented UK farmers in the high-level discussions and have managed to include some very positive recommendations in the final paper to help the Commission and farm ministers shape a more viable beef sector.

“We must strengthen the export capacity of the EU beef sector by opening access to strategic markets. We have asked policy-makers to redouble their efforts to obtain market access to the US and China and to simplify trading arrangements with Russia.

“We have also asked that any trade deal, with Mercosur for example, must respect different standards of production and we need better labelling to help consumers distinguish exactly where their beef has come from. And we've also requested that the Commission created a better functioning food chain, including improved transparency and monitoring.”

However, Mr Macintosh went on to warn that some of the group’s suggestions could harm the sector.

“We want a vibrant and competitive beef sector in Europe, but I am concerned that some of the suggested measures could actually harm competitiveness. The suggestion to give member states greater flexibility over Article 68, for example, will mean some divert direct payments into their beef sectors and some do not. This will create unfair competition and the NFU will discourage the commission from taking this course of action.

“Of course we need a safety-net for producers in what is a very volatile market but this must be fair and common across the EU. Overall, our long term goal must be for beef farmers to get a fair price from the market.”

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