A delegation from the French poultry industry met the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault during trade show SPACE to raise their concerns over the EU decision to suspend export refunds for poultry meat exports.

Export subsidies are thought to benefit two French companies in particular; however, indirectly they have an impact across various producers and supporting industries.

The poultry industry argues that while it is not against the eventual removal of export subsidies, it must be given time to adapt. Originally, export subsidies had been due to come to an end in 2015. 

One-third of French chicken production is exported, mainly to the Middle East, and without support, these exports would not be competitive. 

The sector notes that its main rival in export markets is Brazil, which has competitively devalued its currency. Further, other exporting countries have not removed the support offered to their exporters, adding to the disadvantages already experienced by French producers. 

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France has seen a gradual decline in its share of export markets and an increase in the volume of product imported. Its producers further note that even on the home market they are hampered by having social costs that are not imposed in other countries. 

The delegation is calling on the Ministry of Agriculture to delay the removal of subsidies and argues that failing to do so could be catastrophic. It says that the early removal would result in the loss of export markets. It would also destabilize the home market given that that chicken produced for export would no longer be able to sold in the market for which it was destined and end up flooding the French market.

This, in turn, would discourage the investment needed to help the sector modernize and result in closure and the possible loss of some 50,000 jobs along the production chain. 

Producers are calling for the adoption of a number of measures to support the sector in addition to a delay in removing export support. All players must pull together, its representatives argue, to resist the change. There should not be any new taxes imposed on the sector; environmental policy should be developed in the support of agriculture; the government must help support the sector to become more competitive; and an investment fund should be created to renovate or replace buildings.