The risk that this EU-Mercosur trade talks get derailed over again is high, writes Iana Dreyer, spelling from the warning signs.
Iana Dreyer could be the editor-in-chief of Borderlex.eu, a news website centered on EU trade and investment policy.
The last moments of an trade negotiation are invariably highly uncertain. Bluff and brinkmanship are part of the game. Sometimes, someone pulls a rabbit outside the hat and everything falls into position.
Yet, the petering away from the EU-Mercosur free trade negotiation in Buenos Aires for the sidelines of the universe Trade Organization’s ministerial meeting recently is not a good omen.
The risk the talks, initially going in the late 1990s, get derailed over again is high.
The European Commission said negotiations continue – a new round is planned at the end of January 2019 – and that it hopes to reach a breakthrough during the coming weeks. South American leaders expressed similar views.
Yet there’s five signs that negotiators that want to achieve success must heed.
Warning sign 1 – The dwelling of the negotiation
In employment that is such as the now-stalled TTIP negotiations, the important thing priority of one’s Mercosur negotiators is market access in agricultural sectors which are highly sensitive from the EU. That the EU hasn’t liberalised trade-in beef and sugar thus far, it means these are sectors which very successful moscow and rome decades in fending off trade liberalisation. These are fierce strong.
As a journalist, one reads the writing on your wall when getting a press release of your big agrifood lobby group Copa-Cogeca entitled “EU/Mercosur: Copa and Cogeca accelerate action” a few days prior to meetings locked in Buenos Aires.
One needs to take Copa and Cogeca seriously. They mean what they have to say so they walk the talk. Generally, they acquire their way. Copa-Cogeca was all over in Buenos Aires worrying more to do with Mercosur than concerning WTO talks on agriculture subsidies.
Result? The EU decided not to deliver on its promise to table a whole new offer on beef and ethanol. You may still find no signs of an offer on sugar quotas.
Warning sign 2 – The Hogan effect
We all know that DG Agriculture wields enormous power in EU trade policy. Phil Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, has stepped in forcefully within the Mercosur negotiation. Hogan has developed into sort of top EU agrifood ‘salesman’ as well as being known to be a tough negotiator.
While his intense interventions inside final stages of your EU-Japan negotiations this season have borne fruit – regardless of whether they also complicated the talks – with Mercosur, Hogan’s current interventionism could backfire. She’s pushing for better market access for products for instance wine and essential olive oil.
With Japan, it had become a matter of just convincing asia that importing more dairy, pasta, wine and pork would benefit their wealthy consumers. If you don’t direct competition between Japan plus the EU on agriculture.
The situation is dissimilar with Mercosur. Latin america is peopled by former – mostly Southern – Europeans who took at their side European food-production techniques and grow them in comparable climes: wine, cheeses, etc. You will find direct producer competition – either way.
For the EU’s agriculture sector, inadequate that much appetite to the South American market, hence less readiness to strike a package.
Warning sign 3 – France, Ireland and also the Brexit factor
France is the the hula , both an embattled beef industry plus the heart from the sugar-beet growing area through the EU. Bad luck for the Brazilians.
Macronism hasn’t transformed France’s agriculture ministry. It behaves precisely as it always has on trade: first by saying ‘non’. Ireland is during bed with France on beef. Furthermore, Ireland is involved about losing a share of your main market, the united kingdom, due to Brexit.
Emmanuel Macron’s France is more market-friendly at home but happens to be perhaps even less available for more trade liberalisation than ever before.
There is a new sort of environmentalism emerging in French left circles that Macron has got to pay attention to, which mixes with old-fashioned agricultural interests. Nicolas Hulot, the surroundings minister, and St