BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — FEFAC, representing the European compound feed and premix manufacturers, welcomes the E.U., U.S. joint statement on strengthening the trade relationship by working toward increased trade in soybeans and by launching a close dialogue on standards to ease trade.

According to FEFAC, the pragmatic approach will benefit E.U., U.S. agro-food trade and in particular imports of U.S. soy and other feed grains, which moved to a historic all time low mainly due to E.U.’s non-tariff barriers.

“The European feed industry will continue to rely on imported vegetable proteins for many years to support a competitive and sustainable livestock industry,” said Nick Major, president of FEFAC.

He referred to the persistent drought situation in larger parts of Northern and Central Europe, stating, “it is possible that the E.U. will have to increase imports of soy and other feed grains (e.g. corn gluten feed, dried distillers grains) to maintain its livestock population in the current marketing year.”

Major also expressed concerns about the potential introduction of new E.U. non-tariff barriers for U.S. soy and feed grain following the ruling by the European Court of Justice on mutagenesis (Case C-528/16).

“Keeping new mutagenesis breeding techniques in the scope of the E.U. Directive 2001/18 could potentially lead to unintended consequences by effectively blocking E.U. market access to imports of U.S. soy and other feed grains and by undermining the E.U. protein plan’s objective to reduce the E.U. protein deficit,” he said.

FEFAC, the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, represents 23 national associations in 23 E.U. member states as well as associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Serbia, Russia and Norway.