INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR AGRICULTURE, BRUSSELS

Forum calls on farmers, industry and NGOs to rebuild trust and recognize their common objectives for sustainable agriculture

Today, the 8th annual Forum for the Future of Agriculture called on all sides to recognise the need for change and a long-lasting partnership for the global development of sustainable agriculture. We must take into account global challenges, including achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture, but also reversing climate change and using our limited resources wisely. In a time of economic crisis and following the recent CAP negotiations, there is an urgent need to find new ways to improve both farm productivity and the protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity. Speakers and delegates at the Forum recognised that the trust between proponents of farm productivity and environmental protection has been weakened, but that the innovative solutions, practices and knowledge necessary for sustainable agriculture could only be delivered by working together. According to FFA imageChairman Janez Potočnik, this is vital for realisation of the vision of the circular economy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals both in Europe and globally. The Forum therefore called on farmers and the agri-business industry to step up their efforts to provide healthy and abundant food while reducing pressures on natural resources and our climate. Farm practices should be further adapted to benefit the environment and to improve resilience, particularly for soil conservation, water quality and biodiversity. Farmers should be recognized and rewarded for their efforts but such changes are essential to maintain and build public support for Europe’s farming systems. Input providers, including pesticide producers, were specifically asked by the Forum to be more transparent with their data, if they are to convince others of the safety of the products for both people and the environment. But the Forum also made clear that all stakeholders, including environmental NGO’s, must recognize that both, the economic viability of farmers and well-functioning ecosystems, are essential parts of sustainable land management. Amongst the 1.500 speakers and delegates attending this year’s Forum, there was an agreement that by taking these steps bridges can be built between farming and the environment. Such common ground would enable practical solutions, both on the field and in policies, to emerge that support the common goal of sustainable agriculture in Europe.

New President, FFA

New President, FFA

Appearing for the first time as the new FFA Chairman, Janez Potočnik, former European Commissioner for the Environment and Chairman of the RISE Foundation, said: “In Europe we produce about 90 million tons of food waste per year, and a significant part could be easily avoided. We must work towards resource-efficient production techniques, sustainable food choices and reduced food waste in a combined effort with farmers, the food industry, retailers and consumers.” Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, commented: “Innovation is the key to sustainable food security. Through innovation, we can improve resource-efficiency, adapt to climate change, improve food safety, diversity and quality while maintaining the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and creating more and better jobs in rural areas.” Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “Realistic goals and smart legislation regarding the circular economy can help mitigate our resource deficit, strengthen our competitiveness, and at the same time improve our development sustainability.” Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, United Nations, added: “In the new Sustainable Development Goals, sustainable agriculture and food systems are critical for the overarching goal of ending extreme poverty in its different dimensions, everywhere, through sustainable rural development and rural prosperity.” Thierry de l’Escaille, Secretary-General of the European Landowners’ Organization, commented: “Innovation is crucial. As farmers and land managers, we need better access and understanding of innovative tools, new practices and new thinking if we are to achieve resilience in Europe’s agriculture. The best way to achieve this will be if all actors of food value chain, including NGO’s, food processors and industry, usher in a new period of open and trustful relationships.” Jon Parr, Chief Operating Officer at Syngenta, said: “Making agriculture more sustainable demands different thinking and new ways of working from all of us. This is what Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan is about and why we’ve embedded it in our strategy. But we also need other stakeholders to change their mindset and approach so we can work together to equip growers with the modern farm practices and innovative technologies they need to be economically, as well as environmentally, sustainable.”

imageNotes to editors The Forum’s 8th edition was chaired by former European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Franz Fischler and former European Environment Commissioner and Chairman of the RISE Foundation Janez Potočnik. It featured a range of high-level speakers, including Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, United Nations, Arun Gandhi, Agent of Change & Author, Total Nonviolence, Anne Krueger, Senior Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Jon Parr, Chief Operating Officer, Syngenta, Frederic Seppey, Chief Agriculture Negotiator and Director General, Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada, Pavan Sukhdev, Founder-CEO, GIST Advisory, Jeremy Rifkin, Founder and President, The Foundation on Economic Trends, Ren Wang, Assistant Director General of Agriculture & Consumer Protection Department, FAO and Martin Stuchtey, Director, McKinsey Center for Business and Environment. Over 1,500 participants were present at the Forum, which remains open to all stakeholders and free to attend, making it a unique feature and highlight of Europe’s agriculture and environment conference calendar. About the Forum for the Future of Agriculture The annual Forum is an initiative of the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) and Syngenta. It brings together a diverse range of stakeholders to catalyze thinking on the way European agriculture needs to respond to the major challenges that it faces in delivering food and environmental security. The Forum was created in 2008 in response to a belief that many EU policies impacting agriculture are focused on solving yesterday’s problems, such as overproduction, and do not deal with new challenges and market opportunities. Challenges include feeding a growing world population, demand for a higher quality diet, increased demand for renewable sources of energy and changing weather patterns. With limited arable land available, there is a need to sustainably maximize production from that already under cultivation. www.forumforagriculture.com About the European Landowners’ Organization The European Landowners’ Organization, created in 1972, is a unique federation of national associations from the 28 EU Member States and beyond which represents the interests of landowners, land managers and rural entrepreneurs at the European level. Independent and non-profit, the ELO is the only organization able to stand for all rural entrepreneurs. The ELO promotes a prosperous countryside through the dynamism of private ownership and its vision of a sustainable and prosperous countryside. Its Secretariat is based in Brussels. www.elo.org About Syngenta Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 28,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. www.syngenta.com

About the RISE Foundation The Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE) Foundation is an independent pan- European foundation devoted to the conservation and development of the European rural world. Chaired by Janez Potočnik, it deals with policy analysis and project financing. www.risefoundation.eu

AUTORENPORTRAIT: Ausserladscheiter, Miedl, Reiter – EUROPASTUDIEN

imageUniv. Lekt. Mag. JOHANNES AUSSERLADSCHEITER
EU Konsulent, Gerichtssachverständiger
* 15. August 1966, Schwaz

Nach einer landwirtschaftlichen Ausbildung und der Handels-akademie Studium der Rechtswissenschaften und Internationale Wirtschaftspolitik in Innsbruck, Brüssel und USA. Wissenschaftliche Tätigkeit in Brüssel mit Schwerpunkt Europäische Union und Internationale Wirtschaftspolitik. Unternehmer im Immobilien- und Agrarbereich und Autor mehrerer wissenschaftlicher Werke und Bücher. Konsulent für Internationale Wirtschaftspolitik für die Europäische Union, Leiter der internationalen Gerichts-sachverständigen Kanzlei European Court Experts mit Sitz in Brüssel und Wien.

 

 

imageJOSEPH MIEDL, MBA
Diplom-Betriebswirt
* 12. August 1971, Wien

Kaufmännische Ausbilldung im Großhandel. Langjährige Erfahrung im B2B Bereich in Führungspositionen in der Telekommunikationsindustrie. Studium Exekutive Management MBA. Stv. Vorstandsvorsitz im Wirtschaftsforum Triestingtal. Ein wesentlicher Bestandteil dieser Tätigkeit bezieht sich auf die Initiative zur Musterregion in NÖ für den Ausbau von Breitband im Triestingtal. Gründung von Initiativen für die wirtschaftliche Weiterentwicklung im Triestingtal. Gemeinderat in Berndorf (Ausschüsse Finanzen und Wirtschaft), im Wirtschaftsbundvorstand Triestingtal, Obmann Skiclub Triestingtal.

 

imageMARTIN PETER REITER
Marketingleiter, Verleger
* 20. Oktober 1963, Reith im Alpbachtal

Aufgewachsen als Sohn einer Kaufmannsfamilie in St. Gertraudi, Matura an der Handelsakademie Wörgl, Redakteur Tiroler Bauernzeitung, Geschäftsführer Werbeagentur Prologo, Regionalmanager Schwaz und Umgebung, seit 2002 bei der TIROLER VERSICHERUNG. Autor und Mitautor von über 100 Büchern sowie Verleger und Herausgeber (Edition Tirol, Tyrolbuch, Europa-Studien) von 200 Büchern. Mehrfacher Gewinner des Werbepreises Tirolissimo, Austrian Event Award, Regionalitätspreis usw. Initiator von „Tirols Beitrag zur Raumfahrt“ sowie von zahlreichen Themenwanderwegen.

 

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EU – US Trade Talks

imageEU-US trade talks – 5th round to start in the US on 19 May
A fifth round of EU-US trade talks will take place in Arlington, Virginia from 19 to 23 May 2014. The talks are part of a trade and investment deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

Negotiators will discuss trade in goods and services, investment, regulatory issues, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government procurement, intellectual property rights, electronic commerce and telecommunications, environment, labour, small and medium-sized enterprises, and energy and raw materials.

Consulting stakeholders – Wednesday 21 May

During the talks, EU and US negotiators will host meetings with non-governmental organisations, consumer groups, trade unions, professional organisations, business and other civil society organisations) to update them on the status of the negotiations and hear their views on the talks. This is part of our ongoing efforts to hear from as wide a range of interests as possible as we move ahead in the negotiations. There will be two sessions:

Stakeholder Policy Presentations – 11.00 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Stakeholders will deliver presentations to the negotiators on different policy areas. Stakeholders wishing to present must register by Friday, 9 May 2014. The presentations will be open to the press.

Chief Negotiators‘ Briefing – 3.15 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
The EU and US Chief Negotiators will debrief stakeholders on progress to date with the negotiations, and the next steps in the process as they see them. Stakeholders will then be able to put questions directly to the Chief Negotiators, and raise with them issues of concern or interest. Members of the press will not be present at this session.

Independent study outlines benefits of EU-US trade agreement
An in-depth study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, on the potential effects of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has been released today. It takes a detailed look at current transatlantic trade and investment flows and existing barriers to these, and then uses economic modelling to estimate the potential impact of different policy scenarios. The study highlights the huge gains to be made from liberalising EU-US trade, not just for the two trading blocs, but also for the global economy. The study was commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade. This memo summarises the study’s key findings.

Obama, Barroso

Obama, Barroso

Overall economic gains
An ambitious and comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership could bring significant economic gains as a whole for the EU (€119 billion a year) and the US (€95 billion a year) once the agreement is fully implemented. This translates on average to an extra €545 in disposable income each year for a family of four in the EU.
The benefits for the EU and the US would not be at the expense of the rest of the world. On the contrary, liberalising trade between the EU and the US would have a positive impact on worldwide trade and income, increasing GDP in the rest of the world by almost €100 billion. To the extent that the EU and the US can work together towards better trade rules and less regulatory divergence in the future, some of the reductions achieved in the cost of doing trade will also benefit other partners. The economic importance of the EU and the US will mean that their partners will also have an incentive to move towards the new transatlantic standards. This has the potential to spread gains across the global economy, which is increasingly interdependent especially given the ever greater complexity of global value chains.
Income gains are a result of increased trade. EU exports to the US would go up by 28%, equivalent to an additional €187 billion worth of exports of EU goods and services. EU and US trade with the rest of the world would also increase by over €33 billion. Overall, the extra bilateral trade between the two blocs, together with their increased trade with other partners, would represent a rise in total EU exports of 6% and of 8% in US exports. This would mean an additional €220 billion and €240 billion worth of sales of goods and services for EU and US based producers, respectively.
Sectoral benefits
imageEU exports would increase in almost all sectors, but the boost in sales to the rest of the world would be particularly significant in metal products (+12%), processed foods (+9%), chemicals (+9%), other manufactured goods (+6 %), and other transport equipment (+6%).
But, by far the biggest relative increase in trade would take place in the motor vehicles sector. In this sector, EU exports to the rest of the world are expected to go up by nearly 42% and imports to expand by 43%. The growth in bilateral trade is even more impressive: EU exports of motor vehicles to the US are expected to increase by 149%. This partly reflects the importance of two-way trade in parts and components and the further integration of the two industries across the Atlantic. This increase in trade in motor vehicles is also accompanied by an expansion in the sector’s output (+1.5%) in the EU.
The increase in exports and output that would be found (in different degrees) in almost all sectors reflects the big liberalisation effort that the agreement would imply. Unsurprisingly, the car sector, being characterised by an initial combination of high tariffs and high non-tariff barriers, such as different safety standards, is one that would benefit the most.
Reducing non-tariff barriers
Reducing non-tariff barriers, so-called „behind-the-border“ barriers, will have to be the key part of trans-Atlantic trade liberalisation. As much as 80% of the total potential gains come from cutting costs imposed by bureaucracy and regulations, as well as from liberalising trade in services and public procurement.
Labour market
The increased level of economic activity and productivity gains created by the agreement will benefit the EU and US labour markets, both in terms of overall wages and new job opportunities for high- and low-skilled workers.
Sustainable development
The agreement would have negligible effects on CO2 emissions and on the sustainable use of natural resources.
The current EU-US trade relationship in a nutshell
Total bilateral trade in goods between the EU and US in 2011 amounted to €455 billion, with a positive balance for the EU of just over €72 billion. The US was the EU’s third largest supplier, selling it €192 billion of goods (representing around 11% of total EU imports) and the EU’s main export market, buying €264 billion of EU goods (representing around 17% of total EU exports).

Van Rompuy, Obama, Barroso

Van Rompuy, Obama, Barroso

The average monthly value of the EU’s trade in goods with the US is around €38 million, only slightly less than its total annual trade in goods with Taiwan (€40 billion in 2011), the EU’s 20th largest trade partner.
Top sectors for trade in goods for the EU were machinery and transport equipment (some €71 billion of imports and €104 billion of exports), followed by chemicals (roughly €41 billion of imports and €62 billion of exports).
In 2011 trade in commercial services was worth €282.3 billion (according to the latest available figures from Eurostat) with a positive balance for the EU of €5.5 billion. The US was the EU’s top partner for trade in commercial services, with its imports reaching €138.4 billion (around 29% of total EU imports) and its exports €143.9 billion (around 24% of total EU exports).
In total, the commercial exchanges of goods and services across the Atlantic average almost €2 billion per day.
In 2008 around 5 million jobs across the EU were supported by exports of goods and services to the US market.
These trade flows are complemented and supported by a very dynamic investment climate and activity. In 2011, US companies invested around €150 billion in the EU and EU firms some €123 billion in the US. In the same year, the US stock of investments in the EU reached over €1.3 trillion and the total of EU stock of investments in US over €1.4 trillion.