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Supporting European farmers in the face of US tariffs

Emergency Resolution adopted at the EPP Congress, Zagreb (Croatia), 20th – 21st November 2019

The European People’s Party,

– considering the decision adopted by the WTO arbitrator in the Airbus subsidy dispute (DS316) on the 2 October 2019 authorising US countermeasures on EU exports worth 7.5 billion USD,

– having regard to the formal decision taken by the WTO’s dispute settlement body on the 14 October 2019 giving the green light to those sanctions,

– acknowledging the US decision introducing a new tariff of 25% “ad valorem” on some agricultural products and 10% “ad valorem” on non-agricultural products as from the 18 October 2019,

Recognises that:

  1. the EU agri-food sector has been severely affected by the tariffs imposed by the US administration;
  2. this imposition is unfair, as it the result a of trade dispute not concerning agriculture, but the aviation sector, and since a higher tariff has been imposed on agricultural products;
  3. the US is the top market for EU agricultural exports, reaching more than 26.500 million EUR in 2018, and therefore an irreplaceable export destination in the short and medium term;
  4. the EU agricultural products that bear more than 90% of the burden of the sanctions are those with a high added value (wine, olive oil, dairy products such as butter and cheese, scotch whisky);
  5. certain products, like wine or olive oil, from the countries that belong to the Airbus consortium (France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom) are exposed to specific tariffs, while those same products from other Member States are not, de facto generating divisions in the common market;
  6. these tariffs can derail the efforts made for years by producers and exporters in order to promote European quality food products, jeopardising an important fraction of the market share or even leading to the complete expulsion from the US market;
  7. this is not just a business problem, it is also an important social problem, threatening millions of jobs in European rural areas and depopulated regions that have no other employment alternatives;

Calls for:

  1. The swift termination of the tariffs imposed on EU agricultural products. We need to act before the WTO rules on the Boeing case lest it might be too late for many producers.
  2. A renewed diplomatic effort at EU and at Member State level in order to negotiate a mutually agreed solution with the US administration, in the spirit of the July 2018 agreement. We need to rapidly de-escalate the rising trade tensions between Europe and the US.
  3. The end of politically motivated interventions in the market. The agricultural sector is a volatile sector by its very nature. We need to protect our farmers from further uncertainties.
  4. The mobilisation of exceptional support measures targeted to those producers who have been more severely affected, using all available CAP instruments in order to cushion the disturbances in the internal market.
  5. The financing of enhanced promotion campaigns in order to retain as much market share as possible in the US and to increase it in other export destinations.
  6. The renewal of our commitment with free trade. The EPP is a political party that believes in economic freedom and free trade. We stand up for free trade as an instrument for the generation of economic and employment opportunities in a globalized world.