A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

Free trade agreements and disparate world farm policies: A difficult conciliation process

November 4, 2013


With the WTO struggling to come out of a barren spell following the failure of the Doha Round, multilateralism has never been so popular, as shown by the growing number of free trade agreements (FTAs). So for the past decade and in spite of the collapsed WTO multilateral talks, several nations have decided to act and initiated new partnerships. As of January 2012, the WTO Committee on Trade Agreements had recorded over 500 FTAs worldwide. Among the most significant agreements currently under negotiation, we note:
    - The EU/Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), for which a letter of agreement was painstakingly signed on October 18;
    - The EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), whose negotiations might be delayed because of the American spying scandal;
    - The EU/Mercosur (South America) Trade Agreement to be implemented in 2014.
For some, these partnerships are presenting new opportunities for export competitiveness gains, but are also raising concerns regarding the preservation of strategic, thus protected, sectors. For others, they present genuine threats for the economic, political, social or food-related sovereignty of nations.

The EU/Mercosur agreement is an indication of such concerns, especially regarding the involvement of European agriculture. In July 2011, the European Commission thus gave the 27 member states an overwhelming agricultural impact study that outlined the economic and social losses to be borne by European agriculture in case of an agreement, due to the disparities between member states and various regions. Conversely, the South American agricultural sector would benefit from it. These findings would primarily impact livestock farming.

In addition, an October 29 report issued by the French Livestock Institute (cattle), by the French Institute for Pig and Pork Institute and by the Technical Poultry Institute cautioned that lowering European customs protection “would inevitably lead to a sharp increase of Brazilian exports of poultry and beef meats to the EU.”

Although it is too early to judge the positive or negative impact of these various agreements on agriculture, and while partnerships are, or are about, to be concretized––especially regarding the EU/US TTIP––a question can be rightfully asked: May we “graft” the European agricultural model to the Brazilian model, while we have discrepancies between farm policies within the Union itself?

Indeed, it is clear that if we move toward a total removal of trade barriers, the risk of distortion generated by disparate farm policies is a real one, all the more so since there is no “accounting standard” allowing to compare the reality of agricultural support and, more widely, the farm policies carried out and their implementation procedures in most producing countries.

There lies the contribution of the momagri Global Support to Agricultural and Food Production (SGPAA) indicator that, as far as Brazil is concerned, shows per capita and in production percentage support for 2006 to 2011 that are close to those for the European Union, while support mechanisms widely differ between the two zones.


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