BRUSSELS – The European Commission (EC) will invest 179 million euros this year in European trade associations, producers and other agri-food industry stakeholders in the European Union (EU) to promote European agri-food products within the EU and in global markets.

The EC earmarked most of its budget — approximately €110 million — to promote agri-food products in Japan, South Korea, China, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Australia and New Zealand due to free trade agreements that have come into force. 

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, the European Union and its Member States came into force in September 2017. The EC noted that “North America absorbs the largest share of agricultural exports from the EU and remains an attractive market, with the CETA agreement and the ongoing modernization of the agreement with Mexico, which are expected to provide increased export opportunities.”

China and South East Asia also are attractive markets for European agri-food products. Population growth, continued gross domestic product growth and projected growth of imports for beef, sheep, dairy, pork and poultry reflects the importance of those areas as destinations for EU exports, the EU explained.

Japan and South Korea remain important markets for the EU, especially pork, the EC explained, while Singapore and Vietnam are promising markets due to free trade agreements that could come into force soon.

The EC also detailed plans for promotions within the EU. 

“Within the EU itself, the EU will essentially on co-finance campaigns designed to inform consumers about the various EU quality schemes and labels — organic, protected designation of origin(PDO); protected geographical indication (PGI); traditional specialty guaranteed (TSG); and product of EU’s outermost regions,” according to a news release. The EC has budgeted €11 million toward this initiative.

The EC also has a goal, among others, of increasing consumption of goat and sheep meat by highlighting the sustainable aspects of sheep and goat meat production. The EC budgeted €2 million for promotions and information campaigns.

“The sheep/goat meat sector is a very fragile sector: sheep/goat meat consumption is declining and is under strong competition from cheaper imports,” according to a scope of work document on the EC website. “The objective is to highlight the sustainable aspect of sheep/goat sector which counts as the most extensive livestock production system and plays an important role in nature protection and keeping biodiversity.”