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Article: Food and Ag Policy Briefing 30 June

30 June 2020

This article is taken from our policy coverage dated 29/06/20.

Last week, claims were made that bullfighting in Spain was partly being funded by money allocated under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). An Italian animal rights group claimed that Spain's bullfighting sector obtains around €571 million from various national authorities and about €130 million from subsidies allocated by the EU - essentially through the CAP.

In the US, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) proposed on Thursday (June 25th) that an additional $3.1 billion in products from the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) could be subject to higher tariffs.

The US was granted permission last year by WTO to impose retaliatory tariffs targeting up to $7.5 billion in EU and UK goods in a long-running dispute over EU subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The US proceeded to roll out duties of 10%-25%, with many targeting European food and ag goods including cheese, vegetables, fresh and frozen fruit, frozen and processed pork and butter.

Also in the US, it was revealed that nearly 29,000 frontline union workers have been infected with COVID-19 and 238 have died of the virus, leading the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) officials to call for new actions to protect workers.

"We all know that it's growing in some states, we're witnessing increases in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Arizona, South Carolina," UFCW President Marc Perrone said during a media briefing last Thursday (June 25).

In the UK, a study came out stating that a significant number of British Halal meat-eaters might be persuaded to switch to meat from stunned animals, if they were reassured that some forms of stunning are compatible with religious slaughter rules.

The UK may need to adopt the New Zealand model, which has done just that, researchers from the University of Bristol Veterinary School said in " The ethics of Halal meat consumption: preferences of consumers in England according to the method of slaughter."

The Danish Agriculture and Food Council reported that food exports will fall by up to DKK 9 billion in 2020 as a result of the corona crisis and it will take a long time for exports to return to the same level as before the outbreak.

The council said the fall could vary between DKK 4.5 billion to DKK 9 billion depending on how quickly conditions are normalised. The most severely affected product groups are pork, beef and seafood, which according to the two scenarios, will experience a fall of between DKK 3 billion to DKK 6 billion.

The Romanian cabinet drafted an emergency regulation to scrap the industry tax imposed on companies from the catering sector for the 90 days in which they were not able to operate at full capacity due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The measure was developed in response to the financial woes experienced by local restaurants, bars, cafés, and other industry players due to the pandemic. The government decided to draft the ordinance after the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) unveiled its plans to initiate a legislative proposal to provide financial support to HoReCa businesses, according to the information obtained by local news agency Agerpres.

Finally, Krzysztof Bosak, an MP for the Polish opposition Konfederacja (Confederation) party and a candidate in Poland's 28 June presidential election, presented his updated election program in which he declared he will reduce the value-added tax (VAT) on food products if elected.

In the course of his presidential campaign, Bosak has positioned himself as an anti-establishment candidate who has vowed to oppose the introduction of any new taxes, and reduce the existing levies.

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