Cooperation between France, Italy and Spain in the fruit and vegetables industry expands to Portugal

The Joint Committee for Fruit and Vegetables between France, Italy and Spain, made up of representatives from producers and the public administration in the three countries, held its 25th meeting on Wednesday 27 June in the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Food, where it was agreed that Portugal be gradually integrated into the group, thus strengthening this Committee’s position as a forum for dialogue and cooperation.

The meeting was presided over by the General Secretary of Agriculture, Fernando Miranda, and began with a review of the questions being addressed within the framework of the product-specific contact groups that have been meeting throughout 2018 (tomatoes, strawberries, garlic, peaches and nectarines, apples and pears, and citric fruit). It also facilitated an analysis of the issues that were debated in the specific multidisciplinary group on phytosanitary questions.

Furthermore, the Committee analysed current affairs, such as the effects of Brexit on fruit and vegetable production and trade, highlighting the current uncertainty surrounding negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom. In terms of the future of the CAP, the three countries’ administrations stressed the importance of reaching a common position to take to the EU, in coordination with Producer Associations, and committed themselves to jointly defending the continuity of the special fruit and vegetable regime.

The meeting also highlighted the effort made by professionals from the three countries to preserve this Joint Committee, which offers an excellent opportunity to address problems together and resolve them.

The Joint Hispano-French Fruit and Vegetable Committee was created in 1997 at the behest of the governments of France and Spain. In 2010 the adhesion of Italy was agreed, and it became the Joint Franco-Hispano-Italian Fruit and Vegetable Committee in 2011.

FEPEX (the Spanish Federation of Associations of Producers and Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables and Live Plants) has participated in all of the contact groups and in the general meetings of the Joint Committee, and its participation and involvement is considered to have been decisive in the evolution of the relationship between France, Spain and Italy in the fruit and vegetable sector.