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

The British government welcomes a trade agreement with China on barley

February 29, 2016

In 2015, Britain signed a protocol for a barley export trade agreement with China. The agreement, negotiated directly by DEFRA (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) in collaboration with the British trade organization AHDB (cereals and oilseeds), is estimated at £ 100 million for a volume of around 750 000 tonnes of barley per year over the next five years.

Exceptional in its scope, this agreement was finally completed in November 2015 by Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, during a trade mission to China with a delegation comprised of 80 British food companies.

On the Chinese side, the agreement meets the country’s growing demand for beer production and animal feed. On the British side, barley exports support an industry that “contributes £103 million to the economy, more than the automotive and aerospace industries accumulated” said DEFRA in a press release in November 2015 on the occasion of the signing of the agreement.

Here we have a rather unusual trade practice coming from a state deemed non-interventionist and more focused on market laissez-faire, especially for agriculture. Yet there are ultimately more than 600 trade agreements of this kind, all sectors combined, that have been initiated since 2010 by the British government. Furthermore, DEFRA wants to continue these initiatives and plans for new agreements with China for beef and lamb announced Elizabeth Truss in November 2015, suggesting a new golden age of Sino-British relations1.

The very existence of such agreements on agricultural produce with third-party countries, is in summary, simply additional proof that the belief in the absolute liberalization advocated by international agreements and countries deemed ultra-liberal is no longer profitable. London’s stance is ultimately a charade and reveals that it is indeed defending its agriculture, as a vector of influence and power in today’s global agricultural markets.

Today, faced with the characteristic hyper volatility in global agricultural markets, states are increasingly aware that non-interventionism is no longer an option, especially since markets do not regulate themselves. The need for stabilization today outweighs the belief in absolute market efficiency. Governments like the UK are increasingly inclined to support their agriculture and farmers, considering the sector’s specific and strategic importance.

1 “Truss targets beef and land trade deal after China mission”, FG Insight, 18 november 2015

Page Header
Paris, 20 June 2019