The UECBV shows no fear of tackling all today’s challenges the sector faces
11 décembre 2018
Brussels (Tuesday 11 December 2018). On 6th December 2018, the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV) held its annual general meeting (AGM) at the Residence Palace in Brussels. Under the theme: “Think globally but act locally”, the political and economic challenges of the European meat industry were tackled. The sector is boldly facing today’s trends and evolutions in international trade, sustainability and crisis management, such as the African swine fever (ASF).
The day started with two political sessions and a speech by EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, underlining the importance of trade agreements and asking for trust and confidence. Commissioner Malmström advocated for multilateralism and supported a World Trade Organization (WTO) reform by also taking into account the United Nations climate change commitment. Her speech was followed by the one of Patrick Van Gheel, Director of EU Trade Policy and WTO with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium, who stated that opening markets was of paramount importance to the EU, in particular for Belgium, a relatively small country with a tremendous agro-food export philosophy.
During the second session, the attendees got a unique insight of the Japanese market by Hiromichi Matsushima, Japanese Vice-Minister for Agriculture, who pointed at the EPA adoption procedure that became effective the week before. The debate was further animated by Marc Tarabella, MEP, giving counterarguments for overreaching trade liberalisation, whilst Guillaume Van Binst from the Cabinet of the Belgian Minister of Agriculture Denis Ducarme stressed the key role that food safety plays in the opening of new markets. It became obvious that international trade has its clear advantages, but there is a need for pragmatic action as there are no two Free Trade Agreements alike. Finding lasting partnerships with complementary strengths benefits all parties involved. Finally, Margaret Boanas, UECBV Vice-President and Chairwoman of the International Meat Trade Association (IMTA, UK), underlined the importance of truly putting the Free Trade Agreements into practice. She also emphasised that international agreements are both challenges and opportunities for the meat industry. Trade means exporters and importers, and it is essential to think of it in these two ways.
As the morning sessions focused on trade policy and EU trade, the afternoon was dedicated to sustainability and crisis management. Professor Rollin (University of Liège) provided a clear and holistic picture of the significant role of livestock in the society and the ecosystems, underlining the differences between intensive and extensive farming systems in the framework of a sustainable future. The panel was completed by representatives of Sealed Air, the world leader in packaging solutions for the food industry. Jabier Ruiz (WWF) opened a debate about the carbon neutrality strategy and the societal efforts that the livestock value chain should pursuit in the next 20 years. Finally, Todor Ivanov (EuroCoop) shared the EU consumer cooperatives’ point of view about the perceptions on food quality, local food, transparency and vegetarian trends.

For the press release in pdf: Click HERE

For the Video of the conference day: Click HERE
For Pierre Kroll's drawings: Click HERE

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