At the recent IMTA Forum, international trade negotiations opened proceedings. TTIP (EU/US) is currently in its 12th round of negotiations and many more are likely to be required before it can be signed off.
The interesting thing about TTIP is that it will serve as a model in negotiating trade agreements with other countries such as China. In 2016 the EU and Australia will be undertaking impact assessments for the prospects of a deal, as will the EU and New Zealand. IMTA will be monitoring this closely and providing inputs. How many know that in the January to September 2015 period the EU exported 56,000 tonnes (t) of pork to Australia, but the EU only imported 26,000t of beef and sheepmeat?
It all seems to be getting going – with the election of President Mauricio Macrí in Argentina there are renewed hopes for progress with the stalled EU-Mercosur negotiations, which were relaunched back in 2010. The new Argentine President is a trade liberal and his agenda includes promoting trade and removing barriers to exports, something that has long hampered supplies of Argentine beef to the international market. How will all these free trade negotiations compete? Governments around the world are busy negotiating bilateral trade deals and, against this background, the World Trade Organization discussions in Nairobi will take place this week. It will be interesting to see the results of these negotiations and the impacts of their conclusions on future trade flows.
Would the UK lose out on these big trade packages if it left the EU following a referendum in 2016 or in 2017? The implications of a potential ‘Brexit’ and free trade agreements will likely be a strong feature in discussions.