Motion for a resolution - B9-0204/2019Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on measures to address the impact on European agriculture of the WTO ruling on the Airbus dispute

25.11.2019 - (2019/2895(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Benoît Biteau
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

Procedure : 2019/2895(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on measures to address the impact on European agriculture of the WTO ruling on the Airbus dispute


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the decision taken by the arbitrator of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the Airbus subsidy dispute (DS316) on 2 October 2019, authorising US countermeasures on EU exports worth USD 7.5 billion (EUR 6.8 billion),

 having regard to the formal decision taken by the WTO’s dispute settlement body on 14 October giving the green light for those sanctions,

 having regard to the US decision to introduce a new tariff of 25 % ad valorem on some agricultural products and 10 % ad valorem on non-agricultural products, as of 18 October 2019,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas in 2018, agricultural products accounted for 7.0 % of the total value of goods exported by the EU-28[1]; whereas the most significant category of agricultural product exported, in terms of value, was beverages, spirits and vinegar, reaching EUR 31 billion[2];

B. whereas the US is the number one destination for agricultural exports from the EU-28, having accounted for EUR 22.3 billion in 2018[3]; whereas such exports help to maintain a positive trade balance with the US; whereas this makes up 16.2 % of the EU-28’s total extra-EU trade in agri-foods;

C. whereas EU agri-food exports worth EUR 4.3 billion (60 % of the total value of countermeasures) will be hit by the new tariffs, which will be equivalent to EUR 1.1 billion;

D. whereas the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Ireland are, in that order, the main countries affected by the US decision, accounting for 97 % of the total exports exposed to the new tariffs; whereas the agri-food sectors in other EU Member States will also be adversely affected;

E. whereas the main agricultural products targeted by the WTO sanctions will be high-value EU products (Scotch whisky, wine, dairy products such as butter and cheese, and olive oil);

F. whereas farmers and operators in the agri-food chain are victims of a trade conflict which is rooted in a transatlantic controversy about industrial subsidies for Airbus and Boeing; whereas some of the Member States targeted for sanctions, such as Italy and Ireland, do not even take part in the Airbus consortium;

G. whereas for some sectors, like olive oil, the US decision will further jeopardise the already fragile situation of the internal market, while for other sectors that are functioning well, like wine, it risks causing serious disturbances in the market overall;

H. whereas the US countermeasures will add more instability to the EU internal market, which is already having to contend with the disturbance caused by the Russian ban and is having to prepare for the potential economic fall-out from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU;

I. whereas the current export focus of the EU contributes to systematic overproduction and low farm-gate prices, which are significant factors in the ongoing instability of certain sectors;

J. whereas, for the programming period 2014-2018, more than EUR 1 094 million was earmarked for promotion within national support programmes for the wine sector[4], making up 18 % of the envelope; whereas media reports have highlighted that, via promotion campaigns, a considerable amount of CAP expenditure is used to support the promotion activities of large multinationals, taking place in third countries;

K. whereas a coherent agriculture and food policy should consider human health as a key factor for its development and implementation, and any promotional activity using EU funds should be designed taking into account the dietary improvements relevant for the European region, where the predominant health concerns include poor diets, overweight and obesity, and where diet-related non-communicable diseases are increasingly prevalent[5];

L. whereas the EU’s agricultural trade differs from trade in other sectors in certain respects, notably in that adequate food is a right recognised under international law[6], and in that agricultural exports and imports currently include the trade and transport of live animals, which are recognised as sentient beings;

1. Stresses that these tariffs will have a negative impact on the targeted Member States and products, and will impact employment in the agri-food chain and the EU agricultural sector overall, with negative effects for farmers and their families;

2. Regrets the lack of engagement from the US with the EU’s attempts to find a timely negotiated solution in advance of the application of the tariffs and urges the Commission to continue efforts towards a swift solution and towards de-escalating the trade tensions between the two parties;

3. Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the EU market along the entire food supply chain, in order to detect any disturbances that arise from the application of these sanctions and the knock-on effects of products displaced from the food supply chain;

4. Urges the Commission, in accordance with WTO rules, to utilise appropriate CAP instruments and relevant measures to deal with disturbances in the internal market, both via the timely implementation of market regulatory mechanisms of the Single CMO Regulation[7], and via a long-term shift towards production focused on EU demand;

5. Urges the Commission, on the basis of its monitoring of the EU market, to consider mobilising the crisis reserve in support of affected farmers;

6. Urges Member States, in accordance with WTO rules, to utilise appropriate CAP instruments and relevant national tools to support affected farmers and agricultural workers, and if criteria are met, to consider an application to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund;

7. Reiterates the importance of the timely use of market regulatory tools to better monitor and match EU supply with EU demand;

8. Recalls the fact that prices in several sectors are consistently below the cost of production and that the sectors in question are therefore in a constantly fragile situation; stresses that a focus on export to external markets risks generating further instability;

9. Calls on the Commission and the Members States to prioritise shorter supply chains and local and regional production, and in particular to provide support and advisory services to assist farmers in the diversification of production and the development of short supply chains;

10. Calls on the Member States involved in the Airbus consortium to implement measures to ensure solidarity between the aerospace sector and those in the agricultural sector affected by US countermeasures, providing financial support for the latter;

11. Considers that EU-funded promotion campaigns should be redesigned to include a ceiling for support per applicant and a greater focus on locally relevant needs, such as the development of shorter supply chains, the strengthening of the position of producers in the supply chain, the promotion of healthy diets, the conservation of neglected/underutilised varieties and broader crop genetic diversity, and the preservation of environmentally sustainable modes of agriculture significant to rural areas;

12. Stresses that the Commission should ensure that agriculture is no longer treated as a bargaining chip in trade policy, neither in negotiations towards new free trade agreements, nor in the resolution of disputes concerning other sectors; calls for the EU to address the imbalances in its own trade governance, assessing in particular the costs, benefits and risks for smaller farmers and producers that result from its trade policy;

13. Calls on the Commission to continue its efforts to support the reform of the WTO, in particular with a view to adapting it in the face of contemporary challenges and commitments in which agriculture plays a vital role, such as climate change and the Paris Agreement, respect for human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals;

14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.


Last updated: 26 November 2019
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