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Position of EU poultry sector threatened by trade agreements

Gepubliceerd op
10 februari 2015

Despite the current import levies, a number of non-EU countries already have a competitive position on the European poultry meat market. If the levies decrease by 50%, Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine will be able to sell their breast fillet at well below the offer price of the EU countries. The European Union is currently in negotiations with a number of countries to develop bilateral trade agreements. These agreements are focused on further liberalising trade and decreasing or entirely eliminating import levies. LEI Wageningen UR has carried out research into the consequences for the competitive position of the poultry meat sector.

Previous research with a base year of 2011 indicated that the import levies were responsible for enabling the offer price of European producers to compete with the offer price of poultry meat from the majority of non-EU countries. However, this follow-up study with a base year of 2013 indicates that the situation has changed to the disadvantage of European producers. This is the result of a greater increase in animal feed prices in the EU and a lower exchange rate for the local currencies as compared to the euro.

Chicken fillets for lower price

Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine are already offering breast fillet for a lower price than the offer price of European producers. If import levies decrease by 50%, in addition to these three countries the United States and Thailand will also have lower offer prices for breast fillet than European producers. This will mean more imports from outside the EU to the European market and the deterioration of the European poultry sector's competitive position.

Sustainable production

Businesses in the European poultry sector must comply with European legislation for animal welfare, food safety and environmental protection. This legislation results in more sustainable production methods, but at the same time it causes costs to increase for poultry farmers and businesses in the chain. Similar legislation is often lacking in non-EU countries, undermining the competitive position of the European poultry chain. In 2012, the EU countries produced 12.9 million tonnes of poultry meat, 76% of which was chicken meat. The sector provides employment to 303,000 persons and has a production value of €32 trillion. .