A US department of agriculture report on the implications of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) for the agricultural sector has revealed that the US would benefit far more than the EU from any deal.
The report looks at three separate scenarios that may occur should certain trade barriers be removed. In the first scenario, if tariffs and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) were removed, US agricultural exports to the EU would increase by €5.1bn compared to 2011 levels, compared to a measly €0.7bn for exports going the other way. In fact, EU agricultural exports would decrease by 0.25 per cent.
The study explains that projected US export gains are greater because the EU imposes higher tariffs on imports than our friends across the Atlantic.
The second scenario outlines what would happen if, in addition to tariffs and TRQs, non-tariff measures (NTMs) were also removed. NTMs include export subsidies, anti-dumping practices and standard disparities.
In the agricultural sector, NTMs relate primarily to food safety. If they were removed, US exports would increase by a further €3.8bn. At the same time, EU exports would only increase by €1.1bn and would still decline overall.
The third scenario looks at how this would impact consumer demand. As it turns out, consumers would increasingly turn to locally -grown products rather than imported agricultural goods. This would cancel out any gains from removing trade barriers, even although that is the main objective of TTIP.
Reacting to the findings, Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella called on the European Commission - tasked with leading the EU side of the negotiations - to, "either confirm the US scenarios and therefore the uselessness of TTIP, or denounce the report, discrediting the credibility of US trade partners."
The S&D group deputy has written to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, asking for the Brussels executive's position on the report. Unsurprisingly, since the start of the negotiations in 2013, the Commission has insisted that TTIP would bring substantial benefits to the EU.
The trade deal has not been without controversy over the years. Environmental NGOs have repeatedly warned that it would lower EU food safety standards. Meanwhile, a 'stop-TTIP' petition has garnered over three million signatures.