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The European Union must influence competition rules in the agricultural sector in order to compete on an equal footing with third countries.

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Conference on CAP Reform:New Challenges for Competitiveness in the Agricultural Sector

The European Union should have a particular impact on the promotion of competition rules in the agricultural sector by allowing the entry of third party products to compete on an equal footing with local producers.

This was highlighted during the day CAP Reform: New Challenges for Competitiveness in the Agricultural Sector, in which Gregorio Dávila, from the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, Inmaculada Sanfeliu, Director General of the Citrus Management Committee, Rafael Ripoll, Of Counsel of Andersen Tax & Legal, Esmeralda Iranzo, Senior Associate of the firm, and Benjamín Prieto, partner and director of the Valencia office participated.

During his speech, Benjamín Prieto stated that Andersen Tax & Legal has decided to seek specialization in sectors in which we have a wide specialization for the clients and trajectory we have, which allows us to give an added value. For his part, Esmeralda Iranzo maintained that the Valencian Community has been able to take advantage of the thrust of the CAP but the sector must ask for more in the structuring of the markets, allowing them to maintain the rhythm of production and marketing, while insisting on the need to increase phytosanitary controls on third countries.

The representative of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission Gregorio Dávila stressed that the budget for the CAP in the period 2021-2028 is 365,000 million euros, representing a reduction of 5% over the previous one, and that this may vary if Heads of State so decide.

As he explained, the Commission is working to reach an agreement that will allow the strategic plans to be presented in 2020 and has highlighted the most important aspects of the new governance, such as administrative simplification, the performance approach to regulate also on the basis of results and the pursuit of common objectives throughout the EU through local development and implementation in each country with the contribution of the Member States.

In particular, he listed the nine specific objectives pursued by the CAP, such as improving competitiveness and market orientation, supporting farm income and resilience, improving the position of farmers in the food chain, mitigating and adapting to climate change, improving sustainable development and natural resource management, protecting biodiversity and landscape, attracting young farmers, investing in food and health, as well as defending employment and growth in rural areas.

Inmaculada Sanfeliu, Director General of the Citrus Management Committee, presented the current panorama of Spanish citrus cultivation and specifically in the Valencian Community, which represents 53% of citrus production in Spain. Worldwide, Spain represents between 5 and 6% in citrus production, between 4 and 5% in orange production and between 7 and 8% in mandarin production, but if we focus on export throughout the world it is much more significant, we sell between 25 and 26% of citrus, between 24 and 27% of the orange trade and between 35 and 37% of the mandarin trade, therefore 1 of 4 citrus that are sold worldwide is of Spanish origin.

In addition, the Director General of the Citrus Management Committee assured that Spain is between the 4th and 5th world producer of citrus fruits and the world's leading exporter of fresh citrus fruits, which shows that Spain has taken advantage of its entry into the European Economic Community, as we have gone from 3.5 million to a production record of 7.7 million tonnes. If we focus on the European Union, there are 554 thousand hectares of which 304 thousand are from Spain, we represent between 58 and 61% of citrus production, which makes us the main producer and marketer of citrus in the European Union. 

Inmaculada Sanfeliu, concluded that what has allowed this development has been the incorporation into the European Union because we got a captive market, we entered an organization that has internal aid but is also protected from imports from third countries. She also indicated that among the challenges of the sector is the globalisation of trade, looking for new markets for exports and managing the volumes we have. "There is an imbalance of supply and demand, so the efforts of the sector and institutions must be aimed at increasing demand," she said.

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