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Parliamentary questions
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14 October 2019
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002374/2019

The Commission shares the preoccupation with defending the interests of farmers in sensitive sectors. This is reflected in the outcome of the negotiation with Mercosur. Market access concessions on sensitive agricultural products are subject to partial liberalisation usually in the form of a tariff rate quota covering a small percentage of the EU market, in most cases around 1%. Mostly, the primary effect of such a quota will be to relieve existing imports from paying duties rather than to create new trade flows. Moreover, such products will be covered by the bilateral safeguard mechanism provided for under the agreement.

The Commission is committed to making appropriate support available for measures under the common market Organisation for agricultural products, in case that the implementation of the agreement would result in market disturbances. Recent experience has shown that, when the situation so requires, the EU has the necessary policy tools under the Common Agriculture Policy to intervene effectively.

All products subjected to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements entering the EU market have to comply with the EU SPS standards. Neither this agreement, nor any other free trade agreement can be used to undermine EU SPS standards. SPS standards are not negotiable. Both parties have committed to effectively implement the multilateral environmental agreements of which they are part (including the Paris Agreement), as well as to promote and effectively implement the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation. In order to avoid a ‘race to the bottom’, both parties have also committed to not derogate from their environmental or labour laws in order to attract trade and investment.

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