South East Asia could become a key target for Europe’s biggest fruit and vegetable producing countries in the years ahead. With no end to the Russian veto in sight, discussions on opening up alternative markets were high on the agenda of a meeting of the joint Franco-Hispano-Italian Committee on fruits and vegetables in Paris this week.
Spain’s secretary general for agriculture and food, Carlos Cabanas, who co-chaired the meeting, said new agreements were being negotiated with a number of countries in South East Asia and the Far East, which are regarded as having strong potential for EU exports.
The committee concluded that it was vital for the EU to continue to provide exceptional measures to support producers as it takes time to redirect exports to new markets and the embargo and distruptions to existing markets continued in the meantime. It also discussed the modification of the Common Market Organisation standards for fruits and vegetables, a process that is nearing completion.
Throughout negotiations with the Commission, the three countries have developed common positions to address the concerns of Spanish, Italian and French producers.
The three countries have pledged to continue working together with the institutions of the EU to further the position of the three countries, especially with regard to improving crisis prevention measures, environmental issues and maintaining marketing standards for fruits and vegetables.
The next annual meeting of the joint committee to take place in spring 2017 in Italy.