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Taking developing country interests into account when designing Green Deal trade policies

Today I gave a presentation on the implications of the European Green Deal  for agri-food trade with developing countries to a webinar organized by the European Landowners’ Organisation (ELO) (the presentation can be downloaded here and you can also listen to the presentation itself as well as the webinar as a whole at the following link). The presentation was based on a paper I am preparing on this topic commissioned by the ELO and the issues raised at the webinar will feed into the final version of the paper.

The urgent need to address the challenges that face our food system, to provide healthy and adequate nutrition for all and ensure decent livelihoods while remaining within planetary boundaries, is not in question.… Read the rest

Antibiotic legislation as a mirror clause

The first priority of the French EU Presidency in the first half of 2022 under the ‘Agriculture and forestry’ heading is to ‘encourage Council discussions on reciprocal environmental and health production standards for European products and products imported from third countries with the aim of subjecting imported products to certain production requirements applied in the European Union where necessary, to strengthen the protection of health or the environment on the largest possible scale, in keeping with World Trade Organization rules (“mirror clauses”)’.

One of the issues on the French Presidency agenda will be the completion of the outstanding legislation necessary to fully implement the Veterinary Medicinal Products (VMP) Regulation (EU) 2019/6.… Read the rest

Price formation in the market for organic products

The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM, the competition authority) has recently published the second of a series of reports intended to examine if there are market failures that would hinder the development towards sustainable agriculture. Both the 2020 Agro-Nutri Monitor and the 2021 Agro-Nutri Monitor contain an English language summary on which this post is based. The reports are based on research undertaken by Wageningen Economic Research on behalf of ACM.

The reports focus on the markets for organic products, while recognising that there are other sustainability labels in the Dutch retail sector. Given the ambition in the Farm to Fork Strategy to increase the area under organic agriculture to 25%, the question asked by the ACM is of wider European interest.… Read the rest

Trade impacts of Brexit

Trade data on trade between the EU and the UK for the first six months of this year confirm what economists had predicted would happen as a result of the additional trade barriers put in place once the transition period following Brexit came to an end on 31 December 2020. Even allowing for COVID-19 and temporary transitional effects, trade flows have reduced as companies have restructured their supply chains on either side of the English Channel.

What is less expected is that the impact on trade flows has not been symmetrical. According to an analysis by Jonathan Portes using UK trade statistics, UK exports of goods to the EU have now recovered roughly to their pre-COVID-19 levels.… Read the rest

Future agri-food export promotion policy

DG AGRI organised a two-day conference on its forthcoming agri-food promotion policy review on 12-13 July 2021. The conference was part of a comprehensive consultation process, which also included an open public consultation, designed to feed into an ongoing review of agricultural promotion policy in DG AGRI. The review was announced in an inception impact assessment in February 2021 and follows the publication of a Commission evaluation in January 2021 which, in turn, was based on an external evaluation of promotion policy including an earlier public consultation. Further details on the EU’s agricultural promotion policy are provided on the relevant Commission web page.… Read the rest

Can the next CAP help to achieve Green Deal targets?

Whether the next CAP can help EU agriculture to meet the targets set out in the European Green Deal is one of several questions that need to be asked as the trilogue negotiators face into the ‘super trilogue’ on 25-26 May. I addressed this question in a talk given at a webinar organised by the Czech Association of Agricultural and Environmental Economists and Sociologists today. A copy of my presentation can be accessed here.

To address this question, my organising framework focused on four areas:

  • The robustness of the legislative framework itself
  • The ambition in Member State implementation in their national Strategic Plans
  • The rigor of the governance and oversight arrangements and the role of the Commission
  • Political economy obstacles through potential negative impacts on farm incomes.
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The EU’s position in global agri-food trade

We have become used to the mantra that the EU is both the world’s largest agri-food exporter but also its largest agri-food importer. But this was before Brexit and the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU. The UK is a large net importer, so its departure implies (a) that the EU27 now becomes a larger exporter because exports to the UK are added to the extra-EU exports of the EU28, and (b) a smaller importer, because UK imports from the rest of the world no longer count as part of EU27 imports.

The two charts below show the revised situation after Brexit.… Read the rest

Making the transition from income support to a sustainable agriculture in the CAP

The CAP in recent decades has been largely an income support policy, particularly since the decoupling of direct payments after 2005. These CAP budget transfers together with national budget support either in the form of co-financing or as stand-alone payments account for over half of net farm income (for family farms, this is equivalent to family farm income). For specific enterprises and in individual countries, the contribution to farm income can be even higher.

In the first part of this post, I present the most recent data on the dependence of EU farm income on public transfers (see this post for data up to 2018 and a description of the various indicators that can be used to measure the dependence of farm income on public support).… Read the rest

What is the size of the mitigation potential in EU agriculture by 2030?

In my previous post, I discussed the challenges of reducing non-CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture and identified some of the strategies that are available or under development to allow farmers to reduce these emissions. But by how much would these strategies reduce projected emissions? What is the potential magnitude of the emissions reduction we should expect from agriculture in the coming decade? As in the previous post, I deliberately exclude a discussion of the potential to offset these emissions through land management and land use change although, as we will see, some insights into the potential to reduce emissions in the LULUCF sector will be covered in this post.… Read the rest

Mitigating agricultural emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (almost entirely non-CO2 emissions as defined in IPCC Sector 3) fell slightly in the EU-27 in 2018 but are still above their lowest level in 2012. Net emissions from cropland and grassland reported in the LULUCF sector also appear to have stabilised after some years of decline (EEA GHG Data Viewer). Further, projections of agricultural emissions by Member States, as I reported in this post, indicate that no significant reduction in emissions from agriculture is projected in the period up to 2030 even with additional measures in place.

Agricultural non-CO2 emissions are driven mainly by livestock numbers (particularly ruminants such as cattle and sheep) and nitrogen (N) fertiliser use.… Read the rest