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Brussels, 27 September 2000

Breakthrough in farm trade liberalisation talks with Poland

After one and a half year of negotiations, yesterday night the negotiators of the European Commission and Poland reached agreement to mutually liberalise their trade in farm products. The deal sets out the liberalisation of a very substantial part of the bilateral agricultural trade between Poland and the EU and includes mutually satisfactory solutions for all the products for which Poland had last year increased import tariffs.

Franz FISCHLER stated: "I am glad that we finally struck a deal. Double-zero means double benefits for Poland and the EU. This is good for trade, this is good for the Polish enlargement preparations. The agreement has the deepest and widest coverage of any of the recently concluded agreements on agricultural trade liberalisation with the CEECs. It covers a trade volume exceeding one billion euros. Roughly three quarters of current Polish agricultural exports to the EU will be exempted from import duties."

Enlargement Commissioner Günter VERHEUGEN said : "This is a fair and balanced agreement which takes account of the objective situation of both parties. It is also very good news for the enlargement process. It will pave the way for the accession negotiations on the agricultural chapter in a spirit of mutual good will. The agreement demonstrates that even in such a sensitive area as agriculture you can create a "win-win" situation when there is political will on both sides. I also would like to congratulate the negotiators for this remarkable achievement".

The main products concerned are:

  • Almost all fruits and vegetables;

  • Meat (pig meat, poultry, beef);

  • Cheese, butter, milk powder and

  • Wheat.

For all the products for which Poland had raised tariffs, solutions were agreed which will ensure that export opportunities for the EU will be restored to their previous levels.

Tomorrow the agreement will be presented to the Member States in the framework of the Central Europe Working Group.

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