Two indicators, little in common, same name: Market Price Support

We are pleased to welcome this guest post by Lars Brink, who is an independent advisor working from Canada.

This post examines the concepts and calculations of the two different agricultural policy indicators called Market Price Support (MPS): the one is used by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its measurement of producer support in its Producer Support Estimate (PSE) indicator, and the other is identified in the Agreement on Agriculture (AA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as part of the measurement of the Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) indicator.

Once the United Kingdom (UK) has withdrawn from the European Union, the UK by itself will be the entity for which support to agriculture is measured under the practices or rules of international organizations such as the OECD and the WTO.

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Implications of Brexit for developing countries’ agri-food trade

Back to Brexit, I’m afraid, but I thought readers of this blog might be interested in a recent working paper I have written on this topic. Brexit (the UK’s exit from the European Union) will have important repercussions for the agri-food trade of developing countries because of the UK’s size (it is the sixth largest economy in the world) and its important role as an importer of agri-food products (it accounts for 12% of the EU’s imports from developing countries). These effects will occur through a variety of different channels.

Some of the key conclusions of the paper are:

• There will be higher trade costs for UK-EU27 trade.

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The Brexit negotiations on the future trade relationship

On 23 March 2018, the European Council in its Art. 50 formation welcomed the agreement reached earlier last week by the negotiators on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement covering citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, a number of other withdrawal issues and the transition. Prime Minister May wrote following that agreement to European Council President Donald Tusk giving her full support to the draft Agreement and highlighting, in particular, her support for efforts to solve the Ireland border issue. The European Council was therefore willing to set out its guidelines with a view to the opening of negotiations on the overall understanding of the framework for the future relationship, which will be elaborated in a political declaration accompanying and referred to in the Withdrawal Agreement.

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement forwarded to UK

The EU Commission yesterday forwarded a draft Withdrawal Agreement to the UK authorities for negotiation. This draft builds on the initial draft submitted by the Commission for approval by the Council (Art.50) and the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament on 28 February last. To accompany that initial text, the Commission published a helpful Q&A as a guide to the withdrawal process which still remains valid today. Press reports have highlighted that governments tweaked the initial text in some minor ways but retained the broad thrust of the document.

Negotiators are expected to work on the draft over the weekend and in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday next week.

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A Tale of Two Policy Documents: DEFRA vs. Commission Communication

The Commission published its Communication The future of food and farming in November 2017 following an extensive public consultation process. Legislative proposals accompanied by an impact assessment are expected at the end of May. At the same time, the UK is preparing for life after Brexit. To this end, the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a Command Paper (consultation document) on February 27 seeking views on a future post-Brexit agricultural policy. The paper provides a clear direction of travel for UK, or at least, England’s future agricultural policy, and will result in a White Paper and legislation in the form of an Agricultural Bill later in this parliamentary session.

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Pitfalls on the way to a Brexit transition period

Most of the attention around the European Council meeting on 14-15 December 2017 last focused on the implications of the Joint Report agreed between the UK and EU negotiators on 8 December for the three key Phase 1 issues – citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and the border between Ireland and the North of Ireland. Sufficient progress on these issues was the prerequisite for the European Council to agree to move to the second phase of the negotiations. Both the European Council in its conclusions and the European Parliament in its resolution of 13 December 2017 agreed with the Commission recommendation that sufficient progress had been achieved.… Read the rest

Another look at the possible Brexit implications for the CAP budget

Preparations within the Commission for its next MFF proposal, which is now expected in May next year, are well under way. Thinking on the shape of the next MFF began in January last year with the Dutch Presidency Conference on preparing for the next MFF. In December 2016 the High Level Group on the Future Finances of the EU produced its final report and recommendations for a reform of the own resources side of the MFF. In June 2017, the Commission produced its Reflections Paper on the Future of EU Finances. This was one of a series of Reflection Papers published by the Commission in the wake of its White Paper on the Future of Europe published in March 2017.… Read the rest

The UK must pay for access to the single market

The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson revealed his four ‘red lines’ in the Brexit negotiations in an interview in The Sun newspaper recently. They include:
1. The transition period post-Brexit must be a maximum of 2 years and not a second more
2. UK must refuse to accept new EU or European Court of Justice rulings during transition
3. No payments for single market access when transition ends
4. UK must not agree to shadow EU rules to gain access to market.
On the budget payments issue, Johnson explained: “What I have always said is that we will pay for things that are reasonable, scientific programmes.Read the rest

UK publishes proposals on customs arrangements with the EU

In her keynote Brexit speech at Lancaster House in January this year, the Prime Minister outlined:

“I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU. Whether that means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an associate member of the Customs Union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it, I hold no preconceived position. I have an open mind on how we do it. It is not the means that matter, but the ends.”

In the White Paper that followed in February, the Government stated that it would prioritise securing “the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods (…) between the UK and the EU“.

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Which EU countries will bear the brunt of a hard Brexit?

The withdrawal of the UK from the EU (Brexit) will have a negative economic effect both for the UK but also for the EU. The size of these negative effects will depend, in part, on the nature of the future trade relationship that may be negotiated if the Article 50 negotiations on withdrawal are successfully concluded and, in part, on the nature of the transition arrangements, if any, that may be agreed to bridge the period between Brexit Day and the entry into force of a future trade agreement.
The UK government’s objective for the long-term relationship remains that set out in the Lancaster House speech last January, namely, withdrawal from the Single Market and from any type of customs union with the EU, but agreement on an ambitious free trade agreement.… Read the rest