Reforms to food import and export licensing requirements and other initiatives to reduce red tape will cut administrative costs in the EU's Common Agricultural Policy by 25% by 2012, Brussels has announced. 

The European Commission said the changes, some of which have already been introduced, will save the food industry and farmers "hundreds of millions of euros a year."

Among other things the programme of cost-cutting measures means a reduction in the number of licence requirements for imports from 500 to 65.

Specific marketing standards for 26 types of fruit and vegetables have been withdrawn, freeing operators of compliance costs.