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European Union urged to improve integration of agrifood trade interests in policy-making

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The European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agrifood Trade (CELCAA) has unveiled its vision and recommendations on how the European Union (EU) can achieve sustainable agrifood trade, urging industry traders and policymakers to take these into account ahead of the European elections in June 2024. Following development since December 2022, CELCAA’s position papers are designed to emphasize the pivotal role agrifood trade plays in sustainable food systems and how to improve the sustainability of agrifood trade operations.

Firstly, CELCAA emphasizes the need for accurate integration of the agrifood industry’s needs into EU legislative decision-making processes. There is a call for more comprehensive attention to include agrifood trade in regulatory discussions to ensure a supportive policy landscape for a sustainable transition.

The current EU policies that focus on sustainability objectives through the Green Deal and farm-to-fork (F2F) strategy heavily target production or consumption elements, often overlooking the challenges and requirements of the agrifood sector. CELCAA suggests the importance of better integrating the interests of agrifood trade in current policy discussions, especially considering upcoming European elections as an opportunity to revisit the EU’s policy framework.

The Committee emphasizes that pre-policy planning is paramount, highlighting the need for a comprehensive understanding before implementing policies to help the EU uphold a leading role in the green transition globally.

Additionally, CELCAA recommends better cohesion of policies affecting agrifood traders and optimizations within the European Commission’s structural organization to ensure alignment. Policy tools to enhance a sustainable transition and support the EU agrifood industry’s adaptation to a sustainable sector are also crucial.

Apart from focusing on policies that ‘limit’ environmentally harmful operations, CELCAA calls for an optimistic approach, looking at enablers for a sustainable transition and the implementation of sustainable agrifood trade policies in FTAs and international trade.

Ultimately, CELCAA hopes to shed light on the contribution of agrifood trade to sustainable food systems and emphasize its increasing importance for food security and mitigating the effects of climate change.

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