Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos put to the table on Tuesday, his proposal that halloumi should be exported to Australia as duty-dree.

He was speaking in Brussels, during negotiations for an EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement for agriculture products.

Xenophontos requested that halloumi be included in the list of products that can be exported to Australia without tariffs, noting that future revisions of the list of Geographical Indications should include flagship products of member states that strengthen local agricultural economies.

The discussion on trade in agricultural products between the EU and Ukraine, began with an intervention by the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture, Mykola Solskyi who discussed the difficulties in Ukraine’s agriculture since the Russian invasion. EU member states also referred to the impact of the invasion on their own markets and called on the European Commission to propose relevant measures.

During his intervention, Xenophontos reiterated Cyprus’ support for Ukraine, noting, however, that unilateral measures create undesirable effects on the EU internal market.

He also highlighted the problems faced by the primary sector in Cyprus, especially given the very high increase in production costs affecting all farmers. The minister asked the Commission to develop support measures for farmers which will provide the necessary flexibility to member states so they can support their production sector.

The ministers from Portugal, France, Italy and Spain then briefed the Council on the impact of adverse climate conditions in their territory during the 2022 hydrological year. Xenophontos expressed Cyprus’ solidarity with the residents of the affected areas, noting that the country is also facing extreme weather events with increased frequency and intensity. He also noted the need to support agricultural production in these areas as well as in member states facing similar problems.