Agustín Herrero, general director of Cooperatives Agro-Alimentarias de España has transferred to the Europarliamentarians and members of community institutions that Mercosur poses a threat to many European products, but also an opportunity for sectors such as olive oil, wine, table olives, cheeses of quality and some fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, to position itself in a market of more than 270 million people.
During his presentation, he has requested that Mercosur imports comply with European standards on quality and health, and that inspections at origin are reinforced and sensitive products are protected. It has also requested that the Agreement specify the potential that some products may have in Mercosur and that Brazil apply its commitment established in the Paris Agreement against climate change with concrete measures.
Herrero has asked the Europarliamentarians that the Agreement apply the so-called Single European Entity, to avoid that after the entry into force of the Agreement each member state must negotiate with Mercosur export protocols by product something that would distort the potential that this agreement has for some sectors and promotes different export regulations depending on each member state, as is already the case in the agreements that the EU has with Japan, Canada, Mexico.
Regarding wine, Agustin Herrero has requested the same access to the Mercosur market as Chilean wines, which do not have to cope with the high rates suffered by European wines. In addition, it has requested an alignment of labeling standards and oenological practices with those of the International Wine Organization, reducing bureaucracy, payment security and protection of GIs. The director of Cooperatives Agro-alimentary of Spain has demanded that the European tariff to the Argentine must be maintained, crucial to maintain the balance in the market of import wine.
Regarding the transition periods for liberalization, he has indicated that they are wider for Community exports than vice versa. He has set an example, olive oil that must wait 15 years for total liberalization, while conversely it is 4 years.
As regards fruits and vegetables, Herrero has expressed his concern and opposition to the elimination of the entry control system for fruit and vegetables, essential to verify and control if serious trade distortions are occurring and activate the relevant safeguard clause .
During his speech, Herrero has pointed out orange juice and rice as two products that will suffer the consequences of the agreement. The liberalization of the import of orange juice, where Brazil already controls 90% of the Community market, represents an imbalance for the fresh market, and will put pressure on the European producer sector. And rice has been suffering from the continuous opening of markets to imports from Asian countries for years, not counting the ongoing negotiations with Malaysia, Australia, the US or India. Herrero recalled that European producers are located in areas of delicate environmental balance and without possible alternatives to rice production.
Finally, it has recognized that international trade must be positive, and the expression that in any agreement there must be winners and losers should not imply the sacrifice of production areas and sensitive products, but a door of hope to the improvement of income of agriculture and livestock, economic development for all sectors of both parties and the generation of a balanced market and under the same rules.
This Audition, in which representatives of organizations from other countries have participated, is part of the consultations that Europarliamentarians have with experts in order to begin internal discussions for the ratification of the Mercosur Agreement in the European Parliament, before its entry into force .