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Association calls for boost in productivity, innovation

by 5m Editor
4 July 2005, at 12:00am

EU - The EU&#39;s food and drinks sector is in danger of losing its market share unless more is done to boost its competitiveness, says a body representing the industry — which also supports a reduction in domestic subsidies for its members. Citing a slow down in productivity growth and low innovation in the development of new processed products, the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries (CIAA) said the industry needs more help from the European Commission if it is to face the increasing competition from Asia, South America and the US. In a memorandum to the UK&#39;s prime minister Tony Blair, who takes over the EU&#39;s presidency today, the CIAA said the organisation supports the bloc&#39;s programme of reducing domestic support for the sector. The association called on the EU to do so by increasing support for exporters and by opening access to cheaper agricultural imports. The issues are due to be discussed at a World Trade Organisation meeting in December this year. The phasing out of export refunds for food products should be conditional upon a similar treatment of other export support measures, such as export credits, food aid and the functioning of state trading enterprises, the CIAA stated. &quot;Since these export refunds compensate for higher EU agricultural prices, their elimination will result in exports no longer being viable in certain sectors of the food industry, unless this change is accompanied by the necessary internal market reforms and access is granted to competitive agricultural raw materials,&quot; the CIAA stated. <i>Source: FoodProductionDaily</I>

5m Editor