Free Trade

MERCOSUR : Le Temps des Plates Excuses

L’accord entre l’Union européenne et le Mercosur est remis en question – sous de faux prétextes. Il est temps de réaliser les vrais enjeux qu’il recouvre.

L’accord commercial entre l’Union européenne (UE) et le Mercosur (une communauté économique regroupant plusieurs pays d’Amérique du Sud) est critiqué – voire pratiquement mort selon plusieurs déclarations politiques. C’était l’intention de la France dès le début : plus de protectionnisme, moins de libre-échange.

Tout a commencé avec les feux dans l’Amazonie, au Brésil. D’après l’expert forestier et spécialiste environnemental Emmanuel Macron :

“Notre maison brûle. Littéralement. L’Amazonie, le poumon de notre planète qui produit 20% de notre oxygène, est en feu. C’est une crise internationale. Membres du G7, rendez-vous dans deux jours pour parler de cette urgence. #ActForTheAmazon”

Avec de tels appels, la chose pertinente à faire est de mettre les choses en perspective. Nous savons que le nombre d’incendies au Brésil cette année est supérieur à celui de l’an dernier, mais il est aussi à peu près le même qu’en 2016 et inférieur à 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 et 2012.

Les données de l’Institut national de recherche spatiale du Brésil, qui collabore avec la NASA, montrent que 2019 n’est pas en décalage. Ces données sont obtenues grâce à l’analyse de l’imagerie satellitaire.

Bien que le nombre d’incendies en 2019 soit en effet 80% plus élevé qu’en 2018 – un chiffre largement rapporté ces derniers temps – il n’est supérieur que de 7% à la moyenne des dix dernières années. De plus, la plupart des incendies se produisent actuellement sur des terres déjà déboisées en Amazonie.

MERCOSUR: Feux de foret au Bresil de Janvier à Aout par année (1999-2019).

Un mythe populaire

Le mythe populaire veut que l’Amazonie soit « le poumon de la Terre », produisant « 20% de l’oxygène du monde ». C’est en tout cas ce que dit le tweet d’Emmanuel Macron. En réalité, ces deux éléments sont inexacts… et pas seulement parce que vos poumons ne produisent pas d’oxygène.

Pourtant, ce chiffre continuera de circuler tant qu’il y aura des reportages à produire ; l’agence Associated Press elle-même l’a propagé – elle a dû le retirer ensuite.

Selon le site de fact-checking Snopes :

« En fait, presque tout l’oxygène respirable de la Terre provient des océans, et il y en a assez pour durer des millions d’années. Il y a de nombreuses raisons d’être consterné par les incendies d’Amazonie de cette année, mais l’épuisement de l’approvisionnement en oxygène de la Terre n’en fait pas partie. »

Donc non, vous n’étoufferez pas à cause des incendies de l’Amazonie.

Les vraies raisons…

L’Irlande et la France proposent malgré tout de mettre fin à l’accord avec le Mercosur, pour des raisons environnementales.

Malheureusement pour elles, aucun prétexte écologiste ne pourra cacher leurs vraies motivations : défendre les intérêts protectionnistes des agriculteurs irlandais et français, qui se sont plaint d’une concurrence accrue de la part de pays comme l’Argentine.

Il faut savoir que cet accord a une grande importance géopolitique ; il constitue un signe fort contre le protectionnisme. S’il est ratifié, cet accord avec le Mercosur établirait la plus grande zone de libre-échange que l’UE ait jamais créée, couvrant une population de plus de 780 millions d’habitants, et consoliderait les liens politiques, économiques et culturels étroits entre ces deux zones.

L’accord élimine les droits de douane sur 93% des exportations vers l’UE et accorde un « traitement préférentiel » aux 7% restants. De plus, il supprimera à terme les droits de douane sur 91% des marchandises que les entreprises de l’UE exportent vers le Mercosur.

Le nombre de plaintes officielles présentées à l’OMC en 2018 était de 122% supérieur à celui de 2009. En 2018, l’UE était le deuxième plus gros défenseur des plaintes à l’OMC, soit près de deux fois plus que la Chine.

L’importance de la Chine

Ce pays n’est pas cité au hasard. Il est crucial de comprendre l’influence chinoise sur le terrain sud-américain.

Depuis 2005, la China Development Bank et la China Export-Import Bank ont consenti plus de 141 Mds$ en prêts à des pays et à des entreprises appartenant aux Etats d’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes.

En Amérique latine et ailleurs dans le monde, les prêts chinois sont considérés à la fois comme une recherche de profit et comme une forme de diplomatie.

La Banque de développement se concentre sur huit domaines : électricité, construction de routes, chemins de fer, pétrole, charbon, télécommunications, agriculture et services publics.

Avec cet accord, il devient possible de contrer l’influence chinoise. La France et l’Irlande doivent cesser de s’y opposer et travailler sur un accord commun en Europe.

Donner plus de choix aux consommateurs, garantir plus de libre-échange pour les producteurs des deux côtés et défendre les intérêts géopolitiques par le biais de la politique commerciale : tout cela devrait être évident. Il semble malheureusement que ne plus rien n’est évident, pour la classe politique actuelle…

Originally published here.


Pour en savoir plus sur l’accord MERCOSUR, consultez notre infographie ici.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Transatlantic dialogue and not tariff war is the future of EU-US relationship

The World Trade Organization today has published a ruling giving the US the green light to impose punitive tariffs on the EU over the tariff on the EU subsidies for Airbus.

Luca Bertoletti, Senior European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center says: “We hope policy makers will consider rejecting the use of tariffs to escalate the dispute between Airbus and Boeing. These tariffs will not only hurt the aerospace industry but also many other sectors and especially consumers. As there is a new European Parliament and very soon a new European Commission this is the right time for both EU and USA to bury the axe of war and restart the transatlantic dialogue” continued Bertoletti.

“The EU-US relationship is the strongest of the world and it should be based on common market challenges such as how to deal with growing authoritarianism in China, not on a commercial war among free nations which will just hurt consumers” concluded Bertoletti.

Originally posted here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Trump To Put 10% Tariffs On $300 Billion More In Chinese Imports

“Trump’s announcement about additional tariffs on Chinese goods will hit American consumers the hardest,” said David Clement, North American Affairs Manager of the Consumer Choice Center, which represents consumers in more than 100 countries. “Given how interconnected the two economies are, it is ultimately American consumers who are going to be footing the bill for these new tariffs. Legislators need to better understand that tariffs on foreign products end up being a new tax for domestic consumers. Simply put, tariffs are taxes.”

Read more here

The Dow Dropped 98 Points Because Tariffs Might Finally Hit Home

Unlike the previous tranche of levies imposed since last year, the latest round will mostly target popular consumer products, including cellphones, laptops, apparel, and toys. “Trump’s announcement about additional tariffs on Chinese goods will hit American consumers the hardest,” David Clement, North American affairs manager of the Consumer Choice Center, said on Thursday after the announcement.

“Given how interconnected the two economies are, it is ultimately American consumers who are going to be footing the bill for these new tariffs. Legislators need to better understand that tariffs on foreign products end up being a new tax for domestic consumers. Simply put, tariffs are taxes,” Clement said.

Read more here

Brexit Can Be A Success, But Only If We Do It In The Right, Liberal Way

The Consumer Choice Center’s Maria Chaplia outlined the senseless thinking behind protectionism recently, writing:

“Imagine you’ve been on a team with the same people for decades. You are well aware of the capabilities of your colleagues, and you are on good terms with your boss. More importantly, you have developed a working schedule for yourself, and have been sticking to it deliberately – repeating the same tasks day by day without attempting to improve the quality of their performance. You have been doing fine, just like everyone else on your team.

One morning, your boss announces that there is a new employee or group of employees from abroad joining the team. Naturally, every well-established tribe is suspicious or even hostile towards newcomers, especially if it’s not accustomed to dealing with changes. You and your colleagues will, therefore, try to find a way to persuade your boss to change their mind. After all, why hire someone new, or why alter anything at all, if you and your consumers are doing fine?

On their first day, the newcomers carefully examine your workplace and conclude that your team’s productivity and attitudes are completely outdated and have been far behind world progress for years. Added to that, they find out that the prices you charge are much higher than those in countries where they come from, and that your consumers are of course unaware of that. Their impression is that your boss has been consistently covering for you in order to “protect” you from competition. They are determined to change it: they suggest more innovation, lower prices to the benefit of consumers, and the elimination of the fine mentality.”

Read more here

MERCOSUR: More opportunities for the EU

EU-Mercosur agreement will significantly boost trade between the EU and the Mercosur bloc. By giving the Mercosur bloc a preferential access to the European food market, the deal would allow European consumers to enjoy a greater choice of beef, poultry, sugar, and honey at a lower price. The EU-Mercosur FTA is undoubtedly a big win for consumer choice.

Attempts to block it on the grounds of climate change not only undermine the significance of this opportunity but also fail to realise the benefits following from this new trade relationship. These are numerous on both ends and include exports too. Duties on exports of wine and industrial goods from the EU would be reduced, meaning that the deal would give European exporters a considerable access to the Southern Common Market.

This should be kept in mind when considering voices against the deal: the EU would pass on the opportunity to grow, foster a closer relationship with a fast-growing foreign partner, and, most importantly, to bring cheaper products to consumers in the 4 Mercosur countries.

Moreover, in terms of much-feared agricultural imports, the deal would define a number of food imports that can be imported tariff-free or at a lower rate. Free trade agreements do not mean an unrestricted flow of goods from abroad. They aim to expand trade while retaining some regulations and keeping in mind potential challenges for domestic producers brought about by foreign competition.

Farmers should adapt to reality

Though these fears raised by farmers across the EU are highly exaggerated. For instance, in 2017, the EU produced about 15.0 million tonnes of poultry meat. Under the EU-Mercosur FTA, only 180,000 tonnes of poultry from the Mercosur would be allowed to be imported tariff-free. The numbers and rates are different and do take into consideration the state of food production in the EU. Therefore, seeing the deal as a dark hour for the agricultural sector in the EU is rather unjustified.

For the Mercosur countries, the historic deal with the EU would open the door to many other trade agreements across the world. Concluding a big trade agreement with such an important player in the field of international trade as the EU would attract other countries to the Mercosur and increase its bargaining power for future trade negotiations. Additionally, the deal would also encourage investments as well as boost consumer choice and enhance international cooperation.

Overall, the EU-Mercosur deal is an exciting opportunity for the EU to put the interests of European consumers first and to send a powerful pro-trade, pro-cooperation message to the world.

Read more here

Trump’s 6-Month Window To Limit Car Imports Might Lead To A New Trade War

Washington D.C.: President Trump will give the EU and Japan six months to agree to a deal that would “limit or restrict” imports of automobiles and their parts into the US. It is claimed that car imports threaten national security since they have hurt domestic producers and their ability to invest in new technologies.

In response, Consumer Choice Center Deputy Director Yael Ossowski warned that by making such a treat, President Trump asserted his intention not to proceed with a cooperative solution. Where there is no political will to cooperate on trade, there’s an increasing possibility of a trade war.

“First and foremost, claims that car imports hurt domestic producers and their investing ability are ignorant of the interests of American consumers. Should Japan and the EU limit their supply of cars, consumers in the US will have to bear the costs in the form of higher prices. Protecting an industry at the expense of domestic consumers has never made any country better off,” said Ossowski.

“Trump’s decision will, ironically, hurt the ones it seeks to protect. The US car industry is heavily dependent on imports of car parts. If the EU and Japan limit their supply of car parts to the US market, the domestic sales and production will be restrained. The consequences will be numerous and damaging, and all Americans will have to bear them.

“Chances are high that Trump’s decision will spark a new trade war and impede international cooperation. Trade wars are always lose-lose. They must be stopped in the early stages and prevented altogether. If President Trump cares about the welfare of consumers and producers in his own country, it is high time he learned that free trade is the only way forward,” concluded Ossowski.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Read more here

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