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EU Farmers and Maize Processors Join Forces

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EU Farmers and Maize Processors Join Forces

EU Farmers and Maize Processors Join Forces
October 19
11:59 2015

EU farmers represented by COPA-COGECA, EU maize growers represented by CEPM, and EU ethanol and starch producers, represented by ePURE and Starch Europe respectively, have warned of the negative impact on the EU economy posed by the increased market access for US maize and maize products which could result from the negotiations.

The strength of the US starch and ethanol industry is fundamentally a result of three key elements:

* The US provides much stronger market related support to its domestic maize farmers than the EU. As a result, the US starch and ethanol industry benefit from lower feedstock prices than their European counterparts.

* US energy prices, the second largest cost factor in starch and ethanol production, are up to ten times lower due to a combination of factors linked to US export restrictions of natural gas and EU climate and environmental policies.

* The US has a much more supportive and reliable regulatory and policy framework for farmers, starch and ethanol producers.

“We support a transatlantic trade deal, if key conditions are met. Our sectors have a combined annual turnover of €26 billion. EU farmers cannot do without ethanol and starch production in the EU, which also helps reduce the EU’s acute protein deficit, by co-producing animal feed which otherwise will have to be imported. The livelihood of millions of people in Europe depends on our sectors and we are looking for fair rules on trade,” says Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of COPA-COGECA.

“The US produces five times more maize, over twice as much starch and sweet corn and ten times more ethanol than the EU,” warns Luc Esprit, Permanent Delegate of CEPM.

“The development of the EU ethanol market remains far behind expectations due to legislative uncertainties triggered by the revision of the RED and FQD for three years. Making the European market vulnerable to the world’s largest ethanol producer and exporter would be detrimental to domestic producers. The vastly different regulatory frameworks in the United States and the European Union make it virtually impossible for EU producers to compete on fair and equal terms with their US counterparts,” cautions Robert Wright, Secretary General of ePURE.

Jamie Fortescue, Managing Director of Starch Europe, adds: “Thanks, in large part to the more supportive US regulatory approach, an average US starch plant produces almost 10 times more starch than an average EU one. Tariffs are a legitimate and efficient measure to maintain a level playing field, as any liberalisation would expose the EU to unfair competition, putting at risk over 150.000 jobs in the EU, connected to the ethanol and starch industry, and undermining the subsistence of 3.5 million European farmers.”

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