Brussels cuts EU beef and pork export refunds
The move follows a meeting of the EU’s Single Common Market Organisation Management Committee, which could not decide on whether to change these subsidies – effectively granting the Commission authority to make its own decision. The changes came into force at the end of last week.
On beef, Brussels will reduce export refunds by 33%, with the central rate for carcases being reduced from €244/tonne to €163/tonne, with other rates for deboned, fresh and other cuts reduced accordingly.
A Commission official said there was a need to encourage domestic EU supplies of beef as “the market is relatively tight, with production relatively low and prices high”. He explained that “in this context exports are naturally reduced and imports are also decreasing due to lack of supply worldwide,” and hence subsidies for overseas sales are less important.
On pigmeat, the official noted that markets were “very stable”, with export volumes particularly solid for processed pigmeat products, such as hams and sausages, which are “the only ones benefiting from refunds today in this sector”. Given that these subsidies are now “a small part of the price on what are generally high value products”, Brussels is scrapping them “as they do not play a significant economic role for these exports”.
Meanwhile, the Commission is to leave poultry export refunds unchanged, for instance frozen whole chicken stays at €325/tonne. The committee also debated the management of the EU’s high quality beef import quota, but took no vote on the issue.