International marketing of fruits and vegetables to fulfill demand for exotic and out of season products offers a lucrative marketing opportunity for growers, and the market opportunities offered by the European Union are some of the most financially attractive. However, accessing EU markets requires compliance with a strict regulatory framework of measures designed to ensure human and plant health within the EU that sometimes go beyond the international requirements set under the SPS and TBT agreements administered by the World Trading Organisation. European law is not extra-territorial and thus cannot be said to apply directly to any country or business outside of the EU. However, EU importers and retailers must comply with the law and hence will specify legal minima as market requirements that the third country supplier must comply with in order to export food to EU markets. Although the legislation represents the minimum for market access, many of the larger retailers and some wholesalers require suppliers to demonstrate compliance with independently verifiable private standards such as the European Retailers Protocol for Good Agricultural Practice (EUREPGAP) and the British Retail Consortiums (BRC) Global Technical Standard as this is an effective way of verifying that suppliers have the necessary management and control systems in place. This publication is designed to provide suppliers with a guide to both public and private sector standards which influence access to EU markets.
Department for International Development/ International Institute for Environment and Development/ Natural Resources Institute, London, UK, 43 pp.