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Minister calls for duty-free halloumi exports to Australia

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During a discussion on negotiations towards an EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement, Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos argued that halloumi should be exported to the country duty-free.

He participated in the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council regarding the state of Europe’s agricultural market and trade with Ukraine.

The Swedish Presidency of the Council briefed the ministers on the progress in negotiations towards an EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement for agricultural products.

Xenophontos requested that halloumi be included in the list of products that can be exported to Australia without tariffs.

He said that future revisions of the list of Geographical Indications should include flagship products of Member States that strengthen local agricultural economies.

The debate on trade in agricultural products between the EU and Ukraine opened with an intervention by the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture, Mykola Solskyi.

He described the very difficult situation faced by the country and Ukrainian agriculture since the Russian invasion.

Member States referred to the impact of the invasion on their markets and called on the European Commission to propose relevant measures.

However, Nicosia reiterated Cyprus’ support for Ukraine, noting that unilateral measures create undesirable effects on the EU internal market.

Xenophontos highlighted the problems faced by the primary sector in Cyprus, especially given the high production cost increase affecting farmers.

He urged the Commission to develop support measures for farmers to provide the necessary flexibility for member states to support their production sector.

The ministers from Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain briefed the Council on the impact of adverse climate conditions during the 2022 hydrological year.

Xenophontos expressed Cyprus’ solidarity with the residents of the affected areas, noting the country is also facing extreme weather events with increased frequency and intensity.