AW-ACTUA New regulations for crop protection Brussels – Potato growers in Europe must keep proper records of the amounts of plant protection chemicals they use. Neighbours and suppliers of drinking water are allowed to see these records at all times. This is in the draft Directive, which was proposed by the European Commission (mid July) as regards the regulations for crop protection. The regulations for product authorisation will be shorter and clearer, and the procedures for their usage will be streamlined throughout the EU. There will be a shorter period of time within which the competent authorities may approve the active substances in plant protection products. This should encourage competition among the producers of plant protection products, and ultimately benefit the farmers. The Member States as well as the Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be given strict deadlines. The EFSA will play a central role in the evaluation and risk assessment procedures. Moreover, products that were approved in the same climate zone will automatically be deemed approved by all other foreign authorities within that climate zone. At present, each individual country has to approve a product before it can be used in that country. This is a positive development for the Netherlands, as product registration and testing is relatively expensive for a small country. Moreover, the proposed new system will simplify trade within that zone. There will be three climate zones; the Netherlands will be in the central zone together with Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Austria, SlovaKia and Slovenia. If specific risks should arise on their territory, the authorities will always be able to interfere. Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer protection: “The proposed Directive aims to enhance and improve the Pesticide regulations in the entire EU. The Directive ensures a higher level of protection for the environment and the health of man and animal. At the same time, the Directive offers farmers a choice, and stimulates competition in the industry.” It is the intention that the administrative burden will lessen for all the actors in the sector. For example, active substances in the plant protection products no longer have to be approved every ten years, but only once after those ten years. The draft Directive has been in preparation for five years, and is based on many discussions. The text has now been sent to the Council of Agricultural Ministers and the European Parliament. Both bodies will have to approve it. The Directive is expected to come into force in 2008. By that time, the list that is currently being drafted will also be completed for the approximately thousand products that are already on the market. WTO round breakdown The so-called Doha round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has broken down. The most important obstacle was the liberalisation of the agricultural markets of the major trade blocks, such as the EU. The European umbrella of farmers’ associations Copa reacted positively. This federation is of the opinion that the EU has done more than enough to reduce protection for its internal market, and is completely and utterly against new promises. These would only favour the big exporting countries such as Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. The European family business would end up faced with extra difficulties. ● 10 Potatoworld 2006 Pagina 9

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