WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2013 - The European Commission recently proposed to triple spending in the international marketplace to support the export of EU agricultural and agri-food sector products.

The proposal, which will be submitted to the European Parliament for its review shortly, seeks to boost aid for agricultural exports progressively from $82.5 million in its 2013 budget to $270.5 million in 2020. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) said the EC is planning a slogan, “Enjoy, it’s from Europe,” as part of the initiative.

“In a world in which consumers are increasingly aware of the safety, quality and sustainability of food production methods, European farmers and small or medium-sized enterprises are in a position of strength,” said Dacian Ciolos, European commissioner for agriculture and rural development.

Ciolos said the European agricultural and agri-food sector is known for the “unrivalled quality of its products and its compliance with standards that are unmatched anywhere else in the world.”

USMEF chairman Mark Jagels, said he hopes the EC proposal sends a clear message to Congress.

“With 96 percent of the world’s population living outside our borders, we need to focus our energy and resources on putting U.S. meat and other agricultural products on the world’s tables,” Jagels said. “If we don’t, our competitors in the EU and around the world will gladly take that business off our hands.”

Jagels said U.S. agricultural exports topped $141 billion in value in fiscal year 2012 and supported nearly 1.2 million U.S. jobs. “They accounted for a $38.5 billion surplus in the balance of trade for the year – one of the few bright spots in our economy,” Jagels said.

He noted that a recent study conducted for USDA found that the investment of USDA and checkoff funds in USMEF programs over the prior 10 years returned an average of $7.42 in net revenue to the U.S. pork industry and $3.87 to the beef industry per dollar invested.

“Where better can we invest our tax dollars than in supporting agricultural exports that create jobs, bolster an essential industry and put tax revenue back into the government’s coffers,” Jagels said. “We need to take a cue from the European Union and support agricultural exports rather than reducing spending on these essential programs.”


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