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24 Jun 2021, 13:54
Edgar Meza

German farmers demand agricultural surcharge, border tax on food imports

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German Farmers’ Association (DBV) is demanding a surcharge on domestic agricultural products to be paid by the food retail sector. Despite increased criticism in recent years regarding the negative impact of industrial farming on the climate and biodiversity in Germany, the surcharge is supposed to reward the higher national production standards compared to farming practices abroad and will be indirectly paid by consumers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. Speaking on this year’s Farmers’ 23 June, DBV president Joachim Rukwied also called for a food border tax on imports. "In the end, this serves to ensure food security with local products," he said. The cost would be modelled on the Carbon Border Tax, with which the EU Commission aims to increase the price of products from regions of the world that have set themselves less ambitious goals in terms of climate protection.

Another of the association’s demands is that food security be anchored in Germany’s Basic Law along with the “protection of the natural foundations of life and animals”. Taking part virtually, Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed support for the sector, saying both conventional and organic agriculture should pay off for farmers. Merkel initially praised the farmers for their work and for supplying raw materials for renewable energy sources. While insisting that she takes farmers’ complaints seriously, however, she also pointed to the agricultural subsidies farmers enjoy. Those who receive state support "are particularly committed to the common good," Merkel said. Underscoring the the insect protection law, which is highly controversial among farmers, the tightened fertiliser regulations and planned improvements in animal welfare, she added: "We won't gain anything if we postpone adjustments into the future."

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