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momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
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Focus on issues

  Focus on issues  

The EU-US bilateral agreement: A new round of talks for a TTIP fervently resisted by EU citizens

Arnaud Carpon, Terre-net Média

Article published in Terre-net Média

The 11th round of talks between the European Union and the United States to conclude the free-trade pact––the notorious TTIP––will be held between October 19 and 23 in Miami. This agreement worries the Copa-Cogeca, and particularly the European citizens.

Under negotiation since 2013, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement––the notorious TTIP––must undergo a new round of talks––the eleventh¬¬––between the European Union and the United States on October 19-23 in Miami, Florida. Five days of negotiations during which the European Commission, which represents Europe in the talks, and the American delegates must offer new proposals on market access.

Representing agricultural producers and agri-cooperatives, the Copa-Cogeca is concerned by “the little progress made” regarding the removal of non-tariff trade barriers regarding sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The European agricultural union mostly worries about additional customs duties on butter and cream wanted by the United States that “will hit hard European dairy exporters.”

Martin Merrild of Denmark and Copa’s President, stresses “the need to intensify the talks to reach a free trade agreement between the EU and the US, but feels that concessions must be made by both sides of the Atlantic.”

Advocating a “strong export policy”, the Copa condemns the American position to implement additional customs duties on European butter and cream exports. “I do not see any justification for this, when we only export limited volumes across the Atlantic.” In fact, the EU exports 8,000 tons of butter.

The Copa also criticizes the US intransigence to open its market to European beef.

The Germans lead the opposition to the TTIP

As the preparations for the new round of talks in Miami are taking place, the opposition by European citizens is growing. And the Germans are leading the protest: On October 11, between 150,000 and 250,000 people came from all parts of Germany and marched in the streets of Berlin to proclaim “Stop the TTIP”. The opposition is also internet-based, and 3.19 million Europeans, including 1.57 million Germans but barely 370,000 French people, signed an online petition for “a European citizens’ initiative against the TTIP”.

Theoretically, the anti-TTIP position resulting from the petition for a European citizens’ initiative could reasonably be relevant, but the European Commission is deciding otherwise, as it feels that the “citizens’ initiative”––a very well defined process––only has the objective to develop new laws, and not to oppose a legislation under negotiation.

As a result, the resistance against an agreement between the EU and the US only shows that taking to the streets are the sole means of expression. A massive protest is planned in Brussels for Thursday, October 15, in conjunction with a European Council meeting.

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Paris, 26 June 2019