Half of Spanish meals imports already come from exterior the EU | Economy | EUROtoday

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Soybeans, corn, espresso, nuts, sunflower oil, mollusks, kiwis, fruit and veggies… These are the principle meals that Spain buys from international locations exterior the EU. Brazil, China, Morocco, the United States and Ukraine are the 5 largest sellers. Imports from third international locations have skyrocketed in recent times, in keeping with information from the Ministry of Agriculture, and have been gaining weight over EU companions: in 2013, the Twenty-Seven had been nonetheless the origin of 51% of Spanish agri-food purchases. , whereas in 2022 they represented 49%, reaching 27,673 million euros.

Increasing controls on imports from third international locations is among the primary requests of the Spanish agricultural sector and one of many primary causes for the protests they’re organizing. The Government proposes as one of many options to advertise the so-called mirror clauses within the EU's bilateral agreements with third international locations, in order that the identical circumstances and necessities are required of all ranchers and farmers. France can be dedicated to this measure, to the purpose that it is among the explanation why it has rejected the signing of the pact with the Mercosur international locations. But to introduce these clauses, unanimity is required within the EU and there are international locations, particularly non-producers, that resist.

Where do these imports from third international locations come from? Brazil is the principle market of origin. Purchases from that nation went from 1,700 to three,973 million euros between 2018 and 2022, 133% extra, in keeping with the most recent information from Agriculture, which has not but printed these similar to 2023. Beans and soy muffins, corn, espresso and Sugar are the principle merchandise. In second place is China, with 2,130 million euros, 103% greater than in 2018, with fat and oils, pepper and mollusks as essentially the most bought meals to Spain. Morocco continues in third place, with 2,108 million, 37% extra between these 4 years. Molluscs, purple fruits, kiwis, persimmons, legumes, greens (asparagus, eggplants, peppers…) and tomatoes are essentially the most imported meals. In fourth place is the United States, which exports primarily nuts, soybeans and corn to Spain: a complete of two,033 million, 9% extra. And Ukraine occupies fifth place, with 1,891 million, 88%, particularly because of the sale of corn, sunflower oil and wheat due to the truth that Brussels eradicated all tariffs on imports from the nation after the Russian invasion, in February 2022. This triggered gross sales from that nation to the EU.

Farmers declare that the progressive entry of an increasing number of manufacturing from international locations that aren’t topic to the identical phytosanitary circumstances, produced with decrease labor and monetary prices, represents unfair competitors. They reject agreements corresponding to Mercosur and criticize others already in drive, such because the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement EU-Morocco, which created a free commerce space between each in 2000. It is an settlement by which tariffs are diminished or eradicated in virtually all merchandise. The Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Producers (Fepex) estimates that imports of fruit and veggies from the North African nation have elevated from 130,700 to 496,000 tons between 2012 and 2022, particularly tomatoes, inexperienced beans, avocados…

“We ask that the same phytosanitary criteria be applied from the production cycle, that control be strengthened over the effective collection of tariffs in force and that little by little minimum working conditions be required, such as prohibiting child labor,” explains Andrés Góngora. , accountable for the fruit and vegetable sector of the agricultural affiliation COAG. The farmer explains that his sector is being significantly affected by manufacturing in Morocco, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey. “Tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, lemons… are being affected,” explains Góngora, who’s a tomato producer in Almería.

According to Fepex, within the final decade Spain has gone from exporting a million tons of tomatoes to 630,000, 37% much less. The manufacturing value of a tomato accounts for 70% of the value, “because it is very labor intensive.” “There is a saturation of the market,” says Góngora. “It is not small Moroccan farmers who compete with us, but rather investment funds and large producers who seek profitability in those third countries where production is cheaper.”

More exports, though the hole is narrowing

Imports from third international locations usually are not the one ones which have grown. The complete merchandise that arrive in Spain, together with those who originate from the EU, have grown by 88% within the final decade (2013-2022), as much as 54.15 billion. Meanwhile, complete exports have elevated by 81%, to a report determine of 68,018 million. Spain's primary buying and selling associate continues to be the EU, which receives 68% of Spanish agri-food gross sales. Most of Spanish agricultural manufacturing is exported, particularly to the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Until the tip of the nineties, Spain's export degree was decrease than its imports. Now, the commerce steadiness reveals a constructive steadiness of 14.9 billion. “We are a food, exporting power, and we do not have to lose that vision of leadership,” José Miguel Herrero, common director of the Food Industry of the Ministry of Agriculture, mentioned this Thursday at a convention organized by Asedas, an affiliation that brings collectively supermarkets corresponding to Mercadona, Dia or Ahorramás. “At this time when farmers are on the streets, the best way to help them is to buy Spanish products, which will add wealth to the food chain.”

On the identical day, Tomás Rojas, monetary and institutional relations director of Cooperativas Agroalimentarias, has warned of a component that, in his opinion, threatens the way forward for the countryside much more than imports: “The great challenge is the generational change, because Without workers, the countryside will depend more and more on the outside.”

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