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EU aims to at least double farm trade budget

WROCLAW, Sept 13 – The European Union could double or even triple the funds allocated for marketing its farm produce round the world, the bloc’s agriculture chief Dacian Ciolos said Tuesday.

“I think we’ll be ready by 2014 with new measures for a bolstered farm produce marketing policy, for the EU market but above all for the external market,” Ciolos told reporters during a meeting of farm and fisheries ministers from the 27-nation bloc.

“If we’re ambitious, notably concerning the external marketing budget, I think we can at least double or even triple the funds available for our marketing policy,” he said during talks organised by current EU president Poland.

Ciolos, who holds the farming and rural development portfolio in the EU’s Brussels-based executive body, the European Commission, underlined that the bloc’s current food marketing budget is 53 million euros ($72 million).

The figure — which does not include marketing of wine, fruit and vegetables — contrasts with 200 million dollars spent annually by the United States.

“I think we should get closer to that goal. But it’s clear that we have to make choices within the budget limits that we have,” Ciolos said.

“We should not just reconsider the overall sum, but also the breakdown of spending areas, in order that at least 50 percent of the budget is spent on export marketing.”

“We’ve done a lot of work on wine, fruit and vegetables in recent years. We should consolidate the ground and boost efforts in those sectors. But there are also other sectors which only have 53 million euros available for marketing. That’s very little, given the challenges we face,” he added.

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