EU-US trade agreement may undermine global food security

A free trade agreement between the EU and USA could undermine food security efforts, says German NGO Brot für die Welt.

The TTIP free trade agreement between Europe and the USA could undermine local support for smallholders in developing countries and exacerbate the global food crisis, warns a German NGO.

According to German aid organisation Brot für die Welt, the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US threatens the concept of sustainable food security – warning that the key to fighting world hunger is strengthening smallholders in developing and newly industrialised countries.

"With the planned TTIP agreement, the EU and US are not only defining rules on trade between each other, but indirectly also respective trade with third states," said Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, President of Brot für die Welt.

As global trade powerhouses, a deal between the EU and USA “could intensify pressure on states outside the agreement to give up protection and support for their own markets," she warned.

Regional support

Füllkrug-Weitzel noted that Brazil’s national local procurement programme, which supplies preschools and schools with regional food products for their meals, is an example of third party programmes that could be threatened.

She warned that if TTIP comes into force, it may be possible for international food corporations to sue such a cafeteria programme due to ‘illegal, trade distorting measures’ that contradict the interests of free trade. The result of which could be that local farmers lose purchases guaranteed through such programmes and, in the worst case, even be left with no land in the end.

As of now, Füllkrug-Weitzel said there is no precedent case. But TTIP is not yet in force, she stated.

"Adding one and one together is enough to predict something like this will occur,” said the organisation president, warning that a core aim of the agreement focuses on penetrating local markets.

"Through the free trade agreement, the EU and the US want to make it possible for large food companies and agribusinesses to penetrate small, local markets that have been protected so far", said the NGO chief- referring to a confidential paper from the US Congress that was leaked to the public recently.

Local farmers disadvantaged

Another, and perhaps more prominent risk is the disadvantage created for agricultural goods from developing countries on the international market, said Brot für die Welt.

TTIP negotiators hope to bring about a decrease in tariffs between the EU and US on agriculture products. If this occurs, imports from newly industrialising and developing countries are likely to lose a portion of their market share to the United States for products like cotton, sugar, fresh produce, and fish, it suggested.

"The increase in prosperity for Western industrialised countries should be reason enough to compensate those expected to lose out in the agreement and to be open to compromise in multilateral negotiations", said Thieß Petersen from the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Related News

The European trade commissioner has urged pressure groups to keep the transatlantic trade deal discourse ‘factual and rational’ in a response to criticism.

Commission has not misled on transatlantic trade impact, says letter to lobbyists

Countries that depend on food imports may become more vulnerable in periods of food shortage as populations grow and the effects of climate change impact crop availability, say researchers.

Global food trade may not meet future demands, warn researchers

"This is the thin end of the wedge in the campaign by industry to force GM foods into Europe," says Friends of the Earth Europe

TTIP is a 'trojan horse' trade deal for GM imports, says Friends of the Earth

European Council declassifies TTIP trade negotiation document

European Council declassifies TTIP trade negotiation document

US, EU can reach compromise on geographical indications: EDA

US, EU can reach compromise on geographical indications: EDA

German worry over ‘chlorine chicken’ hits Europe-US trade talks

German worry over ‘chlorine chicken’ hits Europe-US trade talks

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.