An agreement to facilitate EU-Poland trade in food and drink products, initialled by the European Commission and the Polish authorities in Warsaw in October, has been adopted by the Commission.

This agreement, which will help boost trade with Poland in the run-up to EU enlargement, covers food and drink products made from agricultural raw materials listed in Protocol 3 to the Europe Association Agreement with Poland, including chocolates and cocoa paste, biscuits and confectionery, pasta, spirits and vermouths, tea and coffee extracts.

Following a decision by the EU Council of Ministers, this agreement will come into effect early next year.

Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen, said: "I am pleased that we have now concluded an agreement that will further open up trade in food and drink products between the EU and Poland. This is an important step that will prepare our respective industries and consumers for enlargement".

On the EU side, duty free quotas for chocolate, biscuits and confectionery will be proposed to the Council together with the elimination of duties for some other products. In return, Poland will reduce by 30% preferential duties applying to spirits, chocolate, biscuits and confectionery and by 50% duties applying to vermouths. It will also eliminate duties for certain other products.

To speed up the preparation for the Internal Market after enlargement, both parties confirmed their willingness to continue consultations to further liberalise trade on processed agricultural products prior to Poland's accession.