19 Dec 2014

Agriculture, Food and the TTIP: Possibilities and Pitfalls

Tim Josling / Stefan Tangermann

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Progress in agriculture and food issues in the TTIP talks will largely be determined by the level of ambition in the negotiations as a whole. If ambitions are modest, a low-level agreement could probably be reached that includes some limited commitments on agricultural market access and food regulations. These could include promises of mutual support in the area of opening up agricultural markets through the WTO and of further transatlantic cooperation in trying to resolve conflicts over food regulations. Bolder ambitions would allow more scope for tackling the difficult problems, although at the cost of time. It would be unfortunate if the opportunity were not taken to make some significant progress in removing some long-standing irritants in the area of agricultural policy and food regulations: this is where the economic gains are likely to be significant and the spill-overs useful. This paper argues the case that it is worthwhile making the effort to secure a constructive and imaginative agreement on agriculture and food regulations in the TTIP. A fairly detailed suggestive list of potential sub-deals in agro-food, supported by the analysis in the paper, is the most concrete one of a series of policy conclusions.

This paper is the third in a special series of CEPS reports on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the first paper in the “TTIP in the Balance” project, jointly organised by CEPS and the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) in Washington, D.C.

Tim Josling is Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University. Stefan Tangermann is Professor emeritus at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, University of Göttingen.