CIAA outlines priorities to Slovenia presidency

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: International trade, Ciaa

The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of Europe (CIAA)
has issued a memorandum outlining the industry's hopes and
priorities for Slovenia's six months in the EU presidency.

Slovenia has already indicated that the food industry can expect to see progress in novel foods regulation, the Food Improvement Agents Package (FIAP) and the labelling regulation when it took over the reigns last month. CIAA has listed its views on a series of hot topics for the food industry, including the trade partners, legislation and the importance of research to secure the long-term growth of the industry. One of the main priorities is to increase investment in research and development and in innovation. The group has also called for a "simpler and more proportionate EU regulatory framework". ​The memorandum said: "The EU's food and drink sector is still hampered in its development by a legislative environment, which is not conducive to innovation. The better regulation approach has not yet met expectations and experience with impact assessments has triggered concern as to the credibility of the approach." Research and legislation ​CIAA is expecting more funds dedicated to food research. It said it firmly believes in the importance of developing a "coherent research strategy"​ for the agri-food sector. For novel foods, administrative burdens, timing and legal uncertainty can prevent food processors from submitting novel food dossiers, the group said. The CIAA believes companies who have invested in the development of novel foods get an appropriate return in investment. "This could be achieved … with a period of data protection of some of the scientific and technical information brought by the applicant," the memorandum said.Trade partners and agreements ​ Trade partnerships are important for growth in the industry and provide new opportunities in emerging markets. The EU exported a record €52.9bn of food and drink industry products in 2006 and imported products totaling €47.7bn. However, EU food and drink companies face strong international competition from countries with comparative advantages in basic food production, the group said. "Establishing balanced international trade rules and developing closer links with trade partners on both a multilateral and bilateral basis is a pre-requisite for achieving sustained growth and market share on both European and third country markets,"​ CIAA said. Russia has become a very important trade partner for the European Union. EU food and drink exports to Russia increased by 24 per cent in the last year. The US is the EU's most important trading partner for food and drink manufacturers. In 2006, annual exports to the US exceeded €11.5bn, whilst EU imports of US goods accounted for €3.1bn. CIAA said it welcomes the bilateral trade initiatives with South Korea, India and the ASEAN countries. Exports some of these countries have already increased, South Korea exceeded €1bn in 2006, and those to ASEAN reached €2.4bn.

Related topics: Market Trends

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