At the same time, the EU remains the world`s largest importer of agricultural products from developing countries. On average, the EU imported 53 billion euros of goods over the period 2006-2008. That`s more than the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined.  A preferential market access agreement for products from developing countries continues to encourage this development. Today, about 71% of EU agricultural imports come from developing countries. The “Everything but Arms” programme allows the 49 least developed countries to enter the EU market duty- and quota-free. Under the Economic Partnership Agreements, the countries of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group enjoy unrestricted access to tariffs and quotas.  One of the reasons for the 1992 reforms was the need to reach agreement on EU foreign ministers in negotiations on agricultural subsidies with EU trading partners.  Intervention mechanisms have been significantly reduced, and the Commission has intervened only for soft wheat, butter and skimmed milk powder. The CAP health check, adopted in November 2008, added a series of measures to help farmers better respond to market signals and meet new challenges. Among a number of measures, the agreement abolished land freezes, gradually increased milk quotas, which were abolished in 2015, and turned market intervention into a real safety net. Ministers also agreed to increase modulation by reducing direct payments to farmers and referring funds to the Rural Development Fund. This new definition is intended to exclude payments to applicants who do not engage in actual or tangible agricultural activity on their land.
The Commission proposes that no payment be made to applicants whose direct CAP payments represent less than 5% of the total revenues of all non-agricultural activities.  In the Spaak report of 1956, it was found that a common European market excluding agriculture was unthinkable.  She argued that food security was a priority and raised a number of questions about agriculture that policy makers must address.  The Treaty of Rome, signed in March 1957, created the European Economic Community (EEC) and it was mainly thanks to French pressure that the treaty covered agriculture.  However, due to differences within the Six on agricultural policy, the articles on agriculture were vague and policy development remained until after the treaty was signed.  A review of Professor Alan Matthews` post-2013 proposal highlights the lack of ambition in solving this problem. “This CAP reform should not remove trade barriers that keep some EU market prices above global market levels.