How EU Protectionism opens doors for Post-Brexit Trade

While the EU is walking the plank on international trade, the UK is very well positioned to recognise and seize post-Brexit opportunities.

On 6 November, Italy’s government asked the European Commission to apply the “safeguard clause” on rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar in order to protect Italian rice growers. Protectionist measures against southeast Asian countries are not new and have been vehemently backed up by France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Hungary and Romania.

The EU ‘safeguard clause’ hurts consumers across the EU bloc

Under the safeguard clause enshrined in the Treaty of Rome, when imports from a third country jeopardise the trade balance of an EU Member State, it can ask the European Commission to ‘remedy the situation’, or introduce trade barriers.

Such interventions have a single aim: to protect a specific group or class from competition. But by endorsing protectionism for the producers, it serves to  hurt consumers who are otherwise the main beneficiaries of free trade.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the third largest trading partner of the EU. In 2017, trade with the ASEAN resulted in the output of more than € 227,3 billion in goods. As part of this economic engagement, the European Union has been actively cooperating with both Myanmar and Cambodia and therefore using the agricultural imports, in particular rice, to feed the EU market.

Should the EU choose to act at the whim of Italian rice growers, it will strip consumers across the bloc of the opportunity to enjoy a great supply of rice and consequently favourable prices.

Post-Brexit UK could freely trade with Southeast Asia and many others

As of now, the UK has a trade deficit with Southeast Asia. In 2016, UK exports in goods and services to Southeast Asia estimated £13.6 billion and UK imports from the region amounted to £18.8 billion.

While it is of no surprise that Singapore as a former UK colony leads the region, Cambodia and Myanmar, next in the queue for the EU trade barriers, are important trade partners as well. In 2016, the UK imported £0,9bn in goods and services from Cambodia and £0,2bn from Myanmar.

Even though trade relations between the UK and Southeast Asia countries make up only for a small fraction of a crucially important economic engagement with the EU, they serve as a significant trade field to explore and examine.

Some of the potential cooperation channels are bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements between the UK and ASEAN countries. Moreover, once the UK has put the wind back in its sails and left the EU Single Market and the Customs Union, it will also be able to abolish all import tariffs on the goods it doesn’t produce, most of which exist in agriculture, including rice.

Brexit, therefore, represents a momentous opportunity that has a propensity to change the history of world trade and move the needle away from protectionism. By exiting the EU, the UK is not only saving its consumers from detrimental outcomes of the EU’s protectionism but also allows it to foster its cooperation with Southeast Asian countries and reclaim its heritage as a prime trading nation.

Originally published at https://www.speakfreely.today/2018/11/09/eu-protectionism-opens-doors-post-brexit-trade/?fbclid=IwAR1mq7XxBwI1tInq9KAcQcZRra-dydNltnDntk4Tof4T3Ss4mGJs6BFYq68

European customers would suffer from proposed EU rice duties

FOOD AND DRINK INTERNATIONAL: The Italian government has asked the European Commission to employ the safeguard clause on rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar in order to “protect Italian rice growers”.

However, Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager of the Consumer Choice Centre, criticised the request and said that it’s time the European Union stopped pushing forward protectionism.

“The reasoning behind trade barriers is to protect a specific industry – in this case Italian rice growers – from competition,” he said.

“What’s usually overlooked though is that whilst taking the producer side, protectionist policies end up causing a great harm to consumers who get stripped of the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of free trade.

“The Italian government is simply asking to limit the affordability of rice.”

He added: “The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the third largest trading partner of the EU. In 2017, co-operation with the ASEAN resulted in the output of more than € 227,3 billion in goods.

“As part of this economic engagement, the European Union has  been actively trading with both Myanmar and Cambodia and therefore using the agricultural imports, in particular rice, to feed up the EU market.

“Before employing another protectionist measure, the European Commission should ask itself whether it wants to ensure European consumers are able to enjoy a great supply of rice and consequently a favourable pricing or whether it is the unwillingness of one group to compete which matters more.”

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About Luca Bertoletti

Luca graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan in December 2014. He worked as a Business Economics Analyst for the Italian magazine TheFielder in Milan and as Think Thank Coordinator for the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a fellow of Competere Institute in Rome, a columnist for Atlantico Quotidiano, and he sits on the scientific board of New Direction Italia. He has been featured in the New York Times, Radio RAI, RAI 1, El Economista, The National and many other newspapers.

Proposed EU duties on rice would hurt European consumers, says #ConsumerChoiceCenter

EU REPORTER: The Italian government asked the European Commission to employ the safeguard clause on rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar in order to protect Italian rice growers.

European Affairs Manager of the Consumer Choice Center Luca Bertoletti criticized the request and said that it’s time the European Union stopped pushing forward protectionism.

“The reasoning behind trade barriers is to protect a specific industry – in this case Italian rice growers – from competition. What’s usually overlooked though is that whilst taking the producer side, protectionist policies end up causing a great harm to consumers who get stripped of the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of free trade. The Italian government is simply asking to limit the affordability of rice,” said Bertoletti.

“The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the third largest trading partner of the EU. In 2017, co-operation with the ASEAN resulted in the output of more than € 227,3 billion in goods. As part of this economic engagement, the European Union has  been actively trading with both Myanmar and Cambodia and therefore using the agricultural imports, in particular rice, to feed up the EU market.

“Before employing another protectionist measure, the European Commission should ask itself whether it wants to ensure European consumers are able to enjoy a great supply of rice and consequently a favourable pricing or whether it is the unwillingness of one group to compete which matters more,” Bertoletti concluded.

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About Luca Bertoletti

Luca graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan in December 2014. He worked as a Business Economics Analyst for the Italian magazine TheFielder in Milan and as Think Thank Coordinator for the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a fellow of Competere Institute in Rome, a columnist for Atlantico Quotidiano, and he sits on the scientific board of New Direction Italia. He has been featured in the New York Times, Radio RAI, RAI 1, El Economista, The National and many other newspapers.

Sorry Mr. Trump, we’re not “Chinese propaganda” on trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to denounce several articles in the Des Moines Register as Chinese “propaganda ads” because of the facts presented on trade and tariffs.

Included was an article written by the Consumer Choice Center that revealed the impact of tariffs on communities in North and South Carolina, which could affect up to 150,000 jobs in the chemicals, transportation equipment, and machinery industries that rely on exports, more than 36 percent of them in the Charlotte area.

“There is no Chinese conspiracy on trade. The real conspiracy is against the American people, who suffer when tariffs are enacted and goods are made more expensive,” said Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, a consumer advocacy group located in Washington, D.C.

“The fact that the president would characterize factual analysis on the impact on workers and consumers as ‘Chinese propaganda’ reveals that this trade war has not been thought out. Ordinary men and women across America have to pay higher prices for products when tariffs are enacted in order to offset the imposed taxes. Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple.

“Pointing out the economic lunacy of enacting a trade war that will impact small and medium-sized businesses across the country, including the employees in those firms and at firms that rely on them, is vital and necessary, and the Consumer Choice Center will never cease from doing so,” said Ossowski.

“That’s why we launched the #freetrade4us campaign, and why we are seeing such great response from the consumers we represent who have already signed our petition for more free trade, not less.

“We hope the president reverses his policies on trade and tariffs and allows American businesses and consumers to enjoy low prices and free trade that can make everyone more prosperous.”

***CCC Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

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.

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

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Our biggest trading partners, China, Canada, Mexico, and Japan have been able to sell more to us than we’ve sold to them, and that has left us worse off, says Trump. Tariffs, taxes placed on specific products that enter our country, will help balance that.

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.