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   The  Commission today adopted a proposal for a regulation to establish  a
   common organisation of the market in the potatoes sector.

   The establishment of  such a regime is required in view of the completion
   of the internal market on 1 January 1993 necessitating a harmonisation of
   the different mechanisms applied in Member States at present.

   There is a total area of 1.4 million hectares cultivated with potatoes in
   the Community and a total value of the marketed output of several billion
   ECU, which makes potatoes a major field crop.


   It  is proposed that a common organisation for potatoes  be  established,
   based on the following principles:

   -  The  common market organisation should not interfere with  the  market

      Only a potato market whose principal regulation is the play of  supply
      and  demand  will  ensure  that production takes  place  in  the  most
      efficient  way  and  that consumers do not have  to  pay  unduly  high
      prices.  A common market organisation shall respect this principle  of
      a free market.

   -  The market position of potato growers should be improved.

      Farmers growing potatoes should be given an incentive to market  their
      produce through a producer group.  By doing this, production could  be
      better adjusted to market requirements.  This serves the  agricultural
      producer in the form of an improved income as well as the consumer  in
      the form of increased quality.

   (1) COM(92) 185 final.

   -  There should be a common approach in trade with third countries.

      Imports  from third countries, under normal circumstances, should  not
      be  subject to any other restriction than the Common Custom's  Tariff.
      However,  if  there  is  a significant rise  in  imports  which  could
      endanger  the Community market then import licences may be  requested.
      These licences serve the purpose of observing the market more closely.

   The cost of this proposal to be borne by the EAGGF, Guidance Section,  is
   estimated  at  ECU 1.5 million for the financing  of  the  abovementioned
   producer groups.

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