A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
effet Trump sur l'agriculture mondiale
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Is there a Trump effect on world agriculture ?

Momagri Editorial Board

March 6, 2017

Find here the video of the debate

Will there be a Trump effect on world agriculture? Experts discussed this highly strategic question as guests on TV Agri with journalist Jean-Paul Hébard at the Agricultural Show on 3rd March: Eddy Fougier, Political scientist and associate researcher at IRIS the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs ), Thierry Pouch (head of the studies department at the Permanent Assembly of Chambers of Agriculture) and Frédéric Courleux (Momagri advisor).

With the cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), uncertainty about the future of the Transatlantic Partnership (TTIP), the threat of withdrawal from the WTO and a possible trade war with China... Donald Trump's arrival at White House has changed everything on geopolitical, diplomatic and commercial landscapes.

From the start this raises the following question: How will Donald Trump behave on agricultural issues knowing that, as Eddy Fougier points out, 80% of farmers voted for him ? According to Fougier, this massive vote will not be enough. Though the new resident of the White House made plenty of electoral promises to them, farmers' are really worried about isolationism (and its consequence on US agricultural exports), and the new President’s stance on immigration. E. Fougier reminds us of the importance of irregular migrant workers in the agricultural sector, today estimated at between 1.5 and 2 million. However, the three experts insist that the United States has always been very pragmatic with regards agriculture and ultimately “Congress will have the final word in the next negotiation” says Thierry Pouch.

Remembering that the debates surrounding the next Farm Bill have been set in motion [the current US bill ends in 2018], the experts list the main tools for regulating incomes and markets. According to F. Courleux, counter-cyclical aid for grain means a farmer receives $202 per tonne, cumulating the price and the subsidy which adjusts depending on the price level. The Farm Bill, a “five-year plan for agriculture”, as Thierry Pouch defines it, is in contrast with the USA’s stance on free trade on the international scene.

Here again we find America’s legendary pragmatism: the promotion of free trade is above all a means to opening the borders of others! Trump’s attacks on the WTO are quite disconcerting when one knows that for agriculture, WTO rules were established by the United States and Europe to suit them! Ultimately, for agriculture, Trump’s American isolationism is not new; it has been at least 25 years since the Americans abandoned their strategy for regulating international markets to ensure global stability in this matter.

To make matters worse, Trump’s election has taken place in a context of agricultural crisis in the United States. Farmers' incomes dropped for the fourth consecutive year, unprecedented since the Great Depression, notes E. Fougier. T. Pouch adds that the agri-food surplus has been in decline for 3 years. A key point, given that the agricultural sector is one of the few sectors of the US economy to generate a trade surplus.

But even though American farmers’ incomes are dropping drastically, they remain higher than those of European farmers, notably for grain and milk, thanks to counter-cyclical measures and the system of sharing the value added on milk , notes F. Courleux. For him, the current problem faced by American agriculture stems mainly from the constantly rising price of land, because there is no regulatory system in place as there is in France.

Jean-Paul Hébrard is asking that lessons be learned on this side of the Atlantic, where, T. Pouch regrets the vision of agriculture is in opposition to that of America, namely, an attitude focused on deregulation and decoupling, whereas the United States have gradually abandoned decoupling since 2002. We are this “virtuous but isolated leader”, says F. Courleux, for whom finally the election of Donald Trump must be perceived as an opportunity for Europe to become more pragmatic and enlightened on agricultural policy, so as to once again, consider its agriculture as a strategic issue.

Faced with the many dangers challenging the common agricultural policy, such as its renationalization, E. Fougier states, Europe must seize all available opportunities to revive this pivotal policy of European integration. Brexit might be the occasion, but it is more generally an economic sense that must be restored to the CAP. This is in line with the proposal developed by Momagri in their white paper “a new strategic course for the CAP”4.

1 http://www.wikiagri.fr/articles/donald-trump-a-obtenu-le-soutien-massif-des-agriculteurs-americains/11349
and http://wikiagri.fr/articles/quelle-politique-agricole-pour-ladministration-trump-/12913

2 http://www.pleinchamp.com/actualites-generales/actualites/les-agriculteurs-americains-votent-pour-donald-trump
3 http://www.momagri.org/UK/editorials/The-new-US-Farm-Bill-Reinforcing-agricultural-insurance-subsidies-(...).html
4 http://www.momagri.org/PDF/Momagri-A-new-strategic-course-for-the-CAP.pdf
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Paris, 29 April 2017