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

Proliferation of free trade agreements: Double standards?

May 12, 2014

As we are waiting for the 5th round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to be held between May 19 and 23, observers are noting renewed concerns from farmers as well as consumers. Yet this uneasiness does not concern the sole TTIP, and could ultimately undermine all the bilateral free trade agreements that are currently being negotiated.

The overall impression is such that, besides the lack of transparency and announcements regarding the various negotiations, the actual benefits to be gained by the parties involved––especially agricultural parties––appear to be quite unbalanced.

For instance, the negative impact of the EU/Canada free trade agreement is being felt by Canada’s smaller cheese producers due to the impending arrival of 17,000 tons of European fine cheeses, while conversely Canadian beef will only represent 0.5 percent of the European market. An imbalance recently denounced by Marcel Groleau (UPA): "When you look at the access to the EU beef market, given the conditions they have set - Canadian industry and non-North American (...) - the term Canadian beef on the shelves of European stores account for 0.5% of the market ... when we give them access to 40% of our market for cheese”. However, the advanced advantage for Europe is not as obvious to European and French. The former Minister of Foreign Trade, Nicole Bricq had expressed concern about the impact of this agreement on the meat industry, beef and pork. The French Green MEP Yannick Jadot also recalled that "In a crisis of farming in Europe - and in Brittany - the agreement will increase the food globalization. Europe will import more pork and beef ".

As far as the TTIP is concerned, European farmers and consumers are increasingly skeptical. Opposition movements are being organized, especially as we head into the European elections, at a time when an increasing number of reports are criticizing the various impact studies on the transatlantic partnership.

Other nations such as Japan, which is pursuing negotiations about free trade agreements with on one hand the United States (the Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the other with the European Union, is showing some reluctance to open its markets, especially agricultural and food markets. And there again that reluctance is quite understandable: The European Union’s food and beverage products would be among the big winners in any agreement with Japan, which is a net importer and has implemented particularly protective policies for its farmers with very high level of customs duties.

Finally, the EU/Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) free trade agreement is not uncontroversial: The COPA-COGECA is opposing the negotiations and reveals the negative impact on beef, poultry and pork. On the South American side, thousands of Columbian farmers demonstrated on April 29 to decry the negotiations regarding the free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union.

Lastly, if there were currently an increasing number to demand an “intelligent” globalization, to realize that the free interplay of market forces is not the ultimate antidote to future exogenous and endogenous crises, are we really willing to reach an agreement whose economic consequences would prove to be as negative as irreversible regarding a strategic activity such as European agriculture?

While it is crucial to reassure international markets and fight protectionist practices that destabilize markets, we must not adopt the adverse position, which would lead to the total liberalization of agricultural markets in geographic zones that are radically economically and socially different.

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Paris, 25 June 2019