EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

Seminar on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) State of play following the vote of the European Parliament International Trade Committee. (EP photographic library).

Seminar on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) State of play following the vote of the European Parliament International Trade Committee. (EP photographic library).

Yesterday, the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee discussed for the first time, the much advertised joint announcement by the EU and the US, to start negotiations for the conclusion of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement. As the European Sting predicted the FTA negotiators would be confronted with two very old and very thorny issues.

According to the Sting writer Maria Milouv: “More than once in the past the EU and the US have tried to start negotiations for an FTA, but all those efforts were drowned in the difficult waters of the European Union’s agricultural sector. With France being the main force behind EU agriculture, everybody can understand, why a trade agreement between EU and the US was so far stuck on two issues: animal products from bovines grown with hormones and GMOs (genetically modified corn, wheat and soya). American exports to the EU of those products are banned. This issue has caused in the past decades a few trade wars over the Atlantic”.

It was exactly those two chapters that the MEPs indicated as the more difficult ones to be successfully concluded. A Parliament press release reveals that many Parliamentarians raised those issues. The relevant part of this text is quoted here below. It goes like this:

“However, almost all the MEPs in the debate highlighted systemic differences between the EU and the US, where strong public criticism could be expected…Vital Moreiria (S&D, PT), chair of the trade committee and responsible for relations with the US, said the biggest bone of contention in the talks would be animal and plant health standards. He wondered whether the EU would have to abandon its traditional precautionary approach in that area. Other MEPs raised concerns over genetically modified crops and hormones in beef. Syed Kamall (ECR, UK) pinpointed the need to protect the EU’s geographical indication system”.

It’s the same old story

In short the historical impediments always remain strong. The Americans however have made clear from the beginning, that an agreement without a solution in those two fronts has no value at all for them. Consequently the high level of the source of the joint EU-US statement (undersigned by the three Presidents, namely Barack Obama, Herman Van Rompuy and Manuel Barroso) is an infallible sign, that the two sides have irreversibly decided to bring this to the end.

Unfortunately, the only way for this Gordian Knot to be solved, is that Europe has to yield on its positions over certain crucial issues. In short Europeans will probably have to eat American beef with hormones and genetically modified corn, wheat and soya. Probably they might be also obliged to open their data for the American to prey upon and accept the ACTA “from the window after throwing it out of the door”.

Another indication that the two sides have decided to go ahead with this bilateral FTA at whatever cost, is the very tight time schedule agreed for its conclusion. According to the plan full scale negotiations have to start within the current Irish Presidency of the Council, that is before the end of June and be concluded before the end of next year. Given the immense scope of this Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TRIP) those twenty months remaining till December 2014, is a ridiculously short time being decided like this just to create overwhelming pressures on the EU negotiators and their political chiefs.

Plus new thorns

Last but not least the European Parliamentarians posed the question of the House’s own involvement in the negotiations, a procedure that is not at all clear. The MEPs also raised the issue of data protection. Paul Murphy (EUL/NGL, IRL) and Franziska Keller (Grens/EFA, DE) asked whether the Parliament’s positions on intellectual property rights and data protection would be respected and how the House would be involved in the negotiating process. Several MEPs voiced fears about “sneaking ACTA in through the back door”.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

“Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” Finally a name and a number to answer Henry Kissinger’s question

Commission launches debate on more efficient decision-making in EU social policy

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

EU finally to extend sanctions on Russia despite arguments; Greece again in Europe’s spotlight

France breaks budget promises once again and the EU’s finance offices are shaking

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

The Franco-German axis considers that all EU needs now is more armaments

‘Many challenges to overcome’ at UN, in fight against abuse: victims’ advocate

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

Yemen: Committee brings warring parties to the table in Hudaydah, builds on ceasefire

Global trade is broken. Here are five ways to rebuild it

EU Justice Scoreboard 2018: justice systems’ key role in upholding the rule of law and EU values

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

MWC 2016 LIVE: Zuckerberg warns mobile industry not to ignore the unconnected

Syria: Why did the US now take the Russian offer for a truce? What next?

Attempt to defy international law over Golan Heights sovereignty ‘doomed to failure’ Security Council hears

After globalization what? Europe’s long, straining shake-up post Davos wreckage

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

Brazil: A strategic partner for the EU

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Italian voters put again the European Peoples in the Brussels picture

Pharmaceuticals in the environment: Commission defines actions to address risks and challenges

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

SMEs and micro firms sinking together with south Eurozone

Bank resolutions and recapitalisations by the ESM may end up politically swayed

Want a more inclusive society? Start with mobility

Landmark EU Parliament – ECB agreement on bank supervision

EU-wide protection and support for whistle-blowers

My Mothers

Palestinian Bedouin community faces demolition after Israeli court ruling, warns UN rights office

African cities will double in population by 2050. Here are 4 ways to make sure they thrive

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

4 key ways countries can finance their SDG ambitions

How the digital finance revolution can drive sustainable development

Venezuela must guarantee judicial impartiality – UN human rights expert

Fuel crisis rapidly draining last ‘coping capacities’ of Palestinians in Gaza

Mining the deep seabed will harm biodiversity. We need to talk about it

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

Tech must embrace teamwork to transform the world

AI could be a silver bullet for healthcare in ASEAN

Everything you need to know about Ireland’s economy (Post Brexit)

Ten UN peacekeepers killed in a terrorist attack in northern Mali

UN warns of ‘deteriorating climate’ for human rights defenders in Guatemala

What can stop the ‘too big to fail’ bankers from terrorising the world?

Mexico cannot move forward ‘without addressing the shadows of the past’, says UN rights chief

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

“For my children Italy will be an innovation lab and not a museum”; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Why CFOs need to rethink what it means to create value

EU budget for 2021-2027: Commission welcomes provisional agreement on Horizon Europe, the future EU research and innovation programme

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

Gender equality in STEM is possible. These countries prove it

We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

Will CETA be implemented after eight long years or it will be vetoed by the EU citizen?

Digital Single Market: New EU rules for online subscription services

More Stings?

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