Does the EU want GMOs and meat with hormones from the US?

Discussion between Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the right, and Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade. Dialogue on Aid for Trade, organised by the OECD (16/01/2013). (EC Audiovisual Services).

Discussion between Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the right, and Karel De Gucht, Member of the EC in charge of Trade. Dialogue on Aid for Trade, organised by the OECD (16/01/2013). (EC Audiovisual Services).

The prospective drafting of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and the United States is developing into a major issue and as things evolved last week, it seems that this may lead the EU into a new division, between France on the one side and the free trade lovers Britain and Germany on the other. The core issue is that the two latter countries want a swift conclusion of a full scale Free Trade Agreement with the US, because they are great exporters to the United States.

On the other side of the fence France and many other EU countries will be deeply hurt from an FTA between the two largest economic entities of the planet, if it contains a complete lifting of two major EU import barriers. It’s the bans on imports of genetically modified seeds and of animal products derived from bovines raised with growth hormones. Those two issues haunt the EU-US relations for decades and have caused at times trade confrontations, if not wars. For the Americans however an FTA without the lifting of those barriers it’s quite meaningless. Otherwise import tariffs and restrictions on EU-US trade are already minimal.  But let’s take one thing at a time.

The Doha round

As it is well know the Doha Round collapse in July of 2011 left unfinished the last cycle of World Trade Organisation negotiations, aiming at generously liberalising world trade. The Doha Round was planned to cover a lot more chapters than trade. It was primarily the US that “bombed” the Doha round negotiations at the critical point, where the two burning dossiers, of trade in agricultural products and investments, were on the table. From that moment onwards, the major trading partners of the world changed course, and started thinking about bilateral Free Trade Agreements. The EU concluded its first FTA with South Korea. Now there are pending FTA negotiations with the US, Japan, Canada and India.

EU Council

Last week’s EU Summit apart from the budget had as main item on the agenda the trade agreements. The text agreed by the 27 leaders contained the following paragraph:

“Building on the tangible progress made in recent months in the EU’s bilateral trade agenda, all efforts should be devoted to pursuing agreements with key partners, prioritising those negotiations that will provide most benefit in terms of growth and jobs. In particular, the European Council looks forward to the report of the EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth and its recommendations. The European Council calls upon the Commission and the Council to follow-up on these recommendations without delay during the current Presidency. It reiterates its support for a comprehensive trade agreement which should pay particular attention to ways to achieve greater transatlantic regulatory convergence.”

The phrase “transatlantic regulatory convergence” is a direct reference to the two issues that split the two sides for decades, namely the trade in genetically modified products and the use of growth hormones on bovines. France is by far the largest producer and supplier of cereals in the protected EU market. A liberalisation of imports of American genetically modified wheat, corn and soya will trade a huge blow to the country’s large agricultural sector. The same is true for the liberalisation of imports of American products derived from animals raised with growth hormones.

On the other side of the fence Germany, being a great industrial exporter to the US, has a lot to gain from a FTA. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has repeatedly asked to start negotiations with the US for an FTA. Last week when the American Vice President, Joe Biden, was in Germany, Merkel expressed again her will to promote an FTA with US. In the same line of thinking the British Prime Minister David Cameron wants a swift conclusion of such an agreement. The old British love of free trade and the huge bilateral economic relations with the US are enough motives.

Seemingly this issue currently plays a very important role in undermining the Franco-German axis and strengthening the relations between London and Berlin. The strong Merkel’s support to Cameron’s proposal for drastic cuts on EU’s budget during last week’s EU Summit, stands as a witness to the rapprochement of Germany and Britain.

However both issues, imports of American GMOs and bovine growth hormones, carry a heavy weight for the wider public interest. Obviously Angela Merkel doesn’t want to appear before the eyes of the German voters as champion of the American GMOs and the doctored animal products. Especially not before the next general election which is to be held in September. It’s equally true though that a potential complete liberalisation of trade between the EU and the US will greatly help the German exports of high value products. That’s why Berlin will not let the FTA with the US to be lost in endless negotiations as Paris would love too.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Malta and Slovakia: MEPs warn of lack of judicial independence and corruption

These are the next big products in consumer technology

EU to Turkey: No other ties than €3+3bn to upkeep refugees

EU-US ties to break over Iran; Democrats’ electoral win may not change it

Reception conditions for asylum-seekers agreed between MEPs and Council

The European Sting’s 2018 in most critical review

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

Syrians still living on ‘razor edge’ as UN launches $8.8 billion dollar appeal

Statement by President Tajani on US steel and aluminium duties

These are the best MBAs if you want to be an entrepreneur

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

The hostilities in south and eastern Ukraine resume; where could they lead?

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

New rules for short-stay visas: EP and Council reach a deal

Guterres says UN stands ready to support Brazil’s search and rescue effort in wake of tragic dam collapse

The big challenge of leadership and entrepreneurship in Europe

UN forum to explore use of outer space to improve lives, protect planet

Trade, entrepreneurship and the future of ASEAN’s economy

What will it take for the world’s third-largest economy to empower women?

“Private” sea freight indexes hide Libor like skeletons?

Respect people’s peaceful assembly and fair trail rights, UN human rights wing urges Nicaragua

Huge data gaps’ hampering ‘evidence-based’ national migration policies

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

A Sting Exclusive: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on South China Sea issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum

Why businesses are nothing without strong human rights

This is how Copenhagen plans to go carbon-neutral by 2025

SoftLayer, an IBM company, @ TheNextWeb 2014: Masters of Failure and Change

China has made a shocking food production discovery – electro culture

Strengthen inclusion, participation of people with autism to ‘achieve their full potential’ says UN chief

A Sting Exclusive: “There can be no global deal on emissions without China and the USA”, Conservative MEP Ian Duncan stresses from Brussels

DR Congo Ebola centre attacks could force retreat against the deadly disease, warns UN health chief

US-North Korea summit ‘an important milestone’ towards denuclearization, says Guterres

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica: MEPs pursue personal data breaches probe

The UK remains in the EU until a new Brexit date is set

Yemen: ‘A great first step’ UN declares as aid team accesses grain silo which can feed millions

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

EU Parliament: No EU-US trade agreement without safe data

Why today’s leaders need to know about the power of narratives

Vulnerable children face ‘dire and dangerous’ situation on Greek island reception centres, UNICEF warns

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

ILO warns of widespread insecurity in the global labour market

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2015: The power of an individual and how we can awaken Europe’s Youth

Franchise India 2016, returns in 14th year 

The succesful cooperation

Resettlement needs set to rise to 1.4 million people in 2019, UN refugee agency reports

The Energy Union: from vision to reality

Agreement reached on new EU Solidarity Corps

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

Europe’s richest regions actively seek investment from China’s biggest banks

Why the foundations of the modern world are costing the earth

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Africa’s Sahel must be a top priority for UN peacebuilding efforts, says commission

ECB’s Draghi favours a cheaper euro to serve all Eurozone countries

Lessons from the Global Entrepreneurship Index

Eurozone: Bankers-politicians rig keeps robbing taxpayers

Can privatisation be the panacea for the lack of growth in Europe?

The umpteenth Italian overturn takes Renzi and PD to unprecedented victory at EU elections

Seize the opportunities of digital technology to improve well-being but also address the risks

The EU sides with China against the US; but has Germany capitulated to America?

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.

  2. We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with helpful information to work on.
    You’ve performed an impressive activity and our
    entire community can be thankful to you.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s