German foodstuffs industry criticises candidates

The German foodstuffs industry is criticising the intention of some of the Central and Eastern European candidate countries to raise import duties and obstacles for food, which are in conflict with investment decisions.

German daily Handelsblatt reported Peter Traumann, chairman of the Federal union of the German foodstuffs industry (BVE), as saying: “The European Commission must clarly tell the countries such as Poland that as long as they do not honour the agreement on market access they cannot join”.

BVE also objects to transitional arrangements between the EU and candidate countries, for example on hygiene standards, for competition reasons.

At its annual convention, BVE expressed support for EU’s eastward enlargement, in which it sees more opportunities than risks. The Federal Association of the German Industry (BDI) also called for further trade liberalisation with Central and Eastern Europe.

German Minister of Economy Karl-Heinz Funke also supported trade liberalisation with the candidates, however, he warned that a reduction of import duties should be accompanied by reduction of EU export subsidies.

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