Overview - EU Agricultural and Trade Policy
The EU is both a major exporter and the world’s largest importer of food, mainly from developing countries. This is often used as an argument that the EU has a fairly liberal trade policy, and that the EU market is open to agricultural imports from third countries.
However, the actual situation is more complex. The EU has significant barriers to agricultural imports from third countries; tariffs on some agricultural imports are among the highest the EU levies on any goods. On the other hand, some privileged developing country exporters benefit not only from virtually unlimited access to the EU market but also from the high internal prices paid to EU farmers.
EU Agricultural Policy describes the two main ways in which farmers are supported, through market price support enforced by trade barriers and through direct payments.
EU Agricultural Trade and Developing Countries examines the complex trading relationship that exists between the EU and developing countries. It highlights the huge importance of the EU market for agro-food imports from developing countries and particularly Africa, despite the continuing restrictions and high tariffs imposed on particular commodities.
EU Agricultural Protection Measures describes the main policy instruments used to protect the EU's agro-food market from competition from farmers and food processors from outside the EU. They include tariffs and safeguard measures, domestic and export subsidies, as well as health and safety standards and other types of regulatory barriers.
Preferential Access Agreements explores the scope of the EU’s preferential agreements with its various trading partners. These include preferences provided under the Cotonou Agreement, the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), the more extensive 'Everything But Arms' (EBA) scheme, as well as preferences accorded to individual countries under bilateral trade agreements.
Agricultural policy is influenced by the WTO and its rules. The disciplines imposed by these rules on EU agricultural policy are examined in the EU's WTO Agricultural Commitments.
The development critique of the CAP explores some of the main issues raised by developing countries and development NGOs showing the extent of policy incoherence between EU agricultural policy and its development policy objectives.