The European Commission has approved measures to provide information on, and to promote, agricultural products outside the EU.

Member States had submitted ten promotion and information programmes to the Commission to be examined. The seven programmes that have been accepted are mostly targeted at the USA, Canada, Japan, the Middle East, Russia, Australia and Norway.

The products covered are wine, fruit and vegetables, cheeses, olive oil and ham. The estimated expenditure for the EU is €5.8m (US$6.8m).

"Improving the competitiveness of EU quality products on markets outside the EU is a major challenge. By investing in promotion and information campaigns for our agricultural products outside the EU, the European Union is showing its determination to take up this challenge," Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said.