Reports Friends of the Earth report on the impact of TTIP on agriculture
Friends of the Earth report on the impact of TTIP on agriculture
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could have major impacts on farming and food production in the European Union. Corporate lobby groups on both sides of the Atlantic are pushing for more market access, but European and American food is produced to different standards of food safety (DG Internal Policies, 2015), animal welfare (World Animal Protection/Humane Society International, 2014) and environmental protection (FOE Europe/IATP, 2013).
The food and drink industry in the European Union has an estimated turnover of €1.2 trillion (FoodDrinkEurope, 2015), but the trade is highly complex, with variations between farming sectors, types of manufacturer and different member states. Only a few studies have even attempted to assess the impact of the TTIP on food and farming, and they have struggled to capture this complexity.
The studies show that export opportunities created through any TTIP do not necessarily translate into better incomes, with the US Department of Agriculture predicting falls in the price paid to EU farmers in every food category (Beckman, et al., 2015). European gains are restricted to a few sectors, such as cheese, but even these are highly dependent on the US making changes to the ‘non-tariff measures’ that it uses to restrict trade (Bureau, et al., 2014).
The models predict that the TTIP will increase food and agriculture imports from the US (Fontaigne, et al., 2013; Beckman, et al., 2015), to the possible detriment of EU farmers, with the existence of whole sectors potentially threatened (Bureau, et al. 2014). Producers supplying the EU from other world regions would also potentially lose out as trade is displaced by US producers (Beckman, et al. 2015). Civil society groups and farming organisations have expressed concern that the TTIP will lead to the further intensification and corporate concentration of agriculture on both sides of the Atlantic. Consumer and environmental protection may suffer too, because both US government and producer organisations are openly calling for the EU to weaken protection in areas such as the approval of GM foods, pesticide safety rules and the bans on hormones and pathogen washes in meat production.