France slows down EU trade agreements with New Zealand and Chile until the end of the election
France has persuaded the European Union to postpone the signing of two new trade agreements until after the April presidential election, which has angered other member states who wish to reach an agreement.
The EU had hoped to finalize trade agreements with Chile and New Zealand this year, but Paris has persuaded the European Commission, which negotiates such deals on behalf of the 27 EU member states, to postpone these deals.
EU diplomats said that French President Emmanuel Macron (Emmanuel Macron) is worried that imports of chicken from Chile and lamb from New Zealand will surge. Opposition candidates can use these imports to mobilize farmers and oppose globalization. Group because he is running for re-election.
French officials confirmed that Paris is not ready to accept that the two transactions are complete, on the grounds that agricultural export quotas and the wording of related environmental issues still need to be finalized.
“We need to fully consider the issue of sustainable development and agricultural sensitivity,” said French Foreign Trade Minister Frank Riester.
The French boycott has raised concerns among other EU countries, which will put pressure on the European Commission at the Brussels Trade Ministers’ meeting on Thursday.
“In the past few weeks, we heard very positive voices about Chile, and then suddenly it disappeared. We hope that the Commission will provide a comprehensive update,” an EU diplomat said.
The member states authorize the commission of negotiators to reach a trade agreement, which is then approved by the national parliament. The diplomat said that some member states believe that the committee should reject France’s request.
The agreement with Chile will update a more relaxed joint agreement and make it easier for the EU to obtain a safe supply of lithium to promote its electric vehicle industry and reduce its dependence on China.
An EU official stated that there is a “small chance” of reaching an agreement with Chile, and negotiations have started in 2017. “This is a very good deal,” they said. “But the French are against some chicken.”
The European Union is a net exporter of poultry. It consumed 11.6 million tons in 2020, of which 650,000 tons were imported. Chile, already the EU’s fourth largest source of imports, will receive a duty-free quota of 18,000 tons of chicken meat.
Brussels started trade negotiations with New Zealand in 2018, but there are still outstanding issues such as data sharing and European cheese protection. The EU hopes that New Zealand farmers will stop labeling cheese with sheep cheese, Gruyere cheese and other famous brands.
Due to lack of progress, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern postponed his trip to Brussels this month.
Her spokesperson blamed “a series of reasons, including the best time to negotiate.”
Britain reached an agreement with New Zealand last month.
The committee said: “We will not comment on the trade negotiations with the third country until it is over. We also do not comment on comments or speculation.”