Growth in exports of processed agricultural products such as biscuits, chocolates, spirits, etc, and the level of export refunds suggest that the appropriations set aside for such refunds in the preliminary draft budget for 2000 will not be sufficient. An even larger overspend is forecast for the coming years, despite World Trade Organisation (WTO) budget restrictions.Planned economy measures.The economy measures envisaged by the Commission are designed to reduce the number of processed foods qualifying for export:- firstly, goods less sensitive to variations in the price of agricultural raw materials;- secondly, goods which incorporate products of primary processing and which, in turn, no longer qualify for export refunds.It is also planned to reduce the rate of refunds for other goods which are less sensitive to the price of incorporated raw materials.The aforementioned measures will be applied inter alia to certain chemical and pharmaceutical products, modified starches, certain yoghurts, beer and certain spirits.Accompanying measures.To safeguard the major role of the European food-processing industry, the production of added value and the industry's presence on the world market, the Commission also plans to facilitate, on a limited basis, food manufacturers' access to imported agricultural raw materials at competitive...

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