EU Agricultural Trade and Developing Countries
EU agrifood imports from developing countries compared to other countries
The EU's relationship with developing countries in terms of agricultural trade is complex. On the one hand, the EU has been heavily criticised by developing countries and NGOs for policies that encourage overproduction and export dumping, undermine development in poor countries, contribute to environmental degradation and destroy the livelihoods of millions of farmers.On the other hand, the EU is the world’s largest customer for farm products from developing countries importing as much as the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined. The EU alone absorbs around 85% of Africa’s agricultural exports. And the average tariff for imports of farm goods to Europe is 10.5%, whereas the average tariff to Brazil is 30% and among developing countries as a whole is 60%
In fact the majority of the EU’s agricultural imports (including here fish as well as highly processed products like beverages and tobacco products) enter the EU duty-free, either because the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff is zero, or because the EU has granted duty-free preferential access.
From a developing country point of view, the impact of the reformed CAP on agricultural markets remains complex. Even through the ‘new CAP’ still has some unwanted effects, they are less direct and more difficult to assess. The traditional image of a ‘fortress Europe that is closed to developing countries’ exports, while the EU dumps considerable quantities of agricultural products on these countries, hurting local producers, no longer fully corresponds to the new CAP arrangements.
DG Agriculture and Rural Development agricultural trade policy analysis website
Links to briefing papers and statistics on EU agricultural trade
Plewa, J., EU agricultural trade policy and agricultural trade with developing countries, IFPRI, 2010.
A powerpoint presentation by a Commission official