In the framework of the so-called “double profit” agreements between the EU and candidate countries, the European Commission adopted today [Friday] a proposal for a Council Regulation in view of the additional liberalisation of agricultural trade with Lithuania.

The proposal foresees a total liberalisation of most ad valorem duties (for example for fresh and prepared fruit and vegetables, juices and processed meat). The proposal also includes “double-profit agreements”, i.e. the removal of export refunds and the elimination within tariff quotas of the import duties for wheat, rye and oats, beef and veal, sheep meat, dairy products and molasses.

Most other sectors – including pig meat, poultry meat, fats and oils and a wide range of fruit and vegetables – were liberalised in 2000.

In parallel with this, the Lithuanian authorities are in the process of implementing the concession agreed for EU exports to Lithuania. This will, by and large, mirror the EU-concessions granted to Lithuania. The agreement means in practise that trade in most agricultural products between the EU and Lithuania will now be completely liberalised.

Commenting on the proposal, Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said: “Facilitating mutual farm trade prior to EU accession of the candidate countries is part of the EU’s strategy to prepare both sides for the enlargement of the single market”. The proposal has now to be adopted by the Council and will enter into force on 1 July 2002.