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Tailored to the needs of the agroindustry: Commission report on FTA impact in the EU

16 November 2016

The long report unfortunately lacks a serious and rigorous analysis. Amidst a severe crisis in the European agricultural sector, it is perplexing that the report presented yesterday omits the adverse consequences hitting farmers as a result of the elimination of a series of market regulation instruments -measures implemented to adapt to the FTAs negotiated by the European institutions.

Press Release Brussels, November 16, 2016   Long awaited, yesterday the Commission finally presented to the EU Council on Agriculture and Fisheries its study on the impact of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on agriculture in the European Union. The long report unfortunately lacks a serious and rigorous analysis. Amidst a severe crisis in the European agricultural sector, it is perplexing that the report presented yesterday omits the adverse consequences hitting farmers as a result of the elimination of a series of market regulation instruments -measures implemented to adapt to the FTAs negotiated by the European institutions.   The report not only errs in ignoring the cumulative impacts of past agreements, such as the lowering of prices to adapt them to the international market, and their volatility - a fact that has led to the daily closure of 1000 farms between 2003 and 2013 - but the report also decides to turn a blind eye and not undertake an impact analysis at the regional or national level of the FTAs being negotiated.   One thing is clear from this report, and it’s that when reference is made to “reaching an international market based on the export of high added value products” this implies the intervention of the export oriented agroindustry, low prices and dumping in third countries. When will the Commission draw up a report showing the destructive impact of its FTAs on the livelihoods of thousands of peasants in countries receiving cheap EU products?   Another important element set aside in this document are non-tariff measures (NTMs), such as sanitary and phytosanitary or those referring to patents, even though the report stresses that agreements such as TTIP could reduce these from 15%  to 30% .   The Commission's statement yesterday that the dairy sector is recovering and that this sector would benefit considerably from the potential FTAs mentioned in the study is a mockery of our peasants.  Echoes of siren songs from two years ago, when the regulation of the milk market was lifted and the milk crisis worsened.   The European Coordination Vía Campesina demands a serious study carried out by an independent entity addressing economic, social, environmental, nutritional and food security aspects - an analysis that, furthermore, deals with treaties that are being implemented as well as those being negotiated.   We denounce the Free Trade trap instigated by the food industry, which sees in each Free Trade Agreement an opportunity to expand its power, control the food system and exploit farmers.   photo credit: Kristina D.C. Hoeppner