Brussels, 9th February, 2016 (WAM) – The European Commission and the government of Colombia announced today the start of negotiations towards a bilateral agreement on trade in organic products.

Such an agreement would allow a larger market for organic farmers, a reduced burden for companies and ensure availability of more organic products to consumers.

The announcement took place during the official visit of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development to Colombia.

In Cali, Phil Hogan said: “I welcome the start of negotiations with Colombia with a view to concluding an agreement on trade in organic products. The organic sector continues to be one of the most dynamic production sectors the EU agri-food sector, and Colombia has great potential to develop opportunities for organic farmers and businesses, with the guarantee for the consumer of a solid control system. We have to be open to examining further technical dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Colombia on matters such as organics. Today’s high level event constitutes a good example of how the organic sectors of both the EU and Colombia can cooperate and both benefit in building a long-term vision”.

Although not part of the Trade Agreement in force since 2013 between the EU and Colombia and Peru, this new agreement will be earmarked in the privileged relationship of cooperation and trade facilitation that has been established since then.

The organic sector in the European Union has been rapidly developing in recent years with a total area of 10.3 million hectares cultivated as organic in 2014 compared to 6.4 million hectares in 2005. This means an average yearly growth of 5.5% over a 10-year period. The organic area represented nearly 6% of the total utilised agricultural area in 2014.