With the government up and running again, the long-awaited discussions over a US-EU trade deal are starting up again as well. But the short hiatus hasn’t changed anything as far as the negitioations go: France still refuses to give any ground on agriculture or l’exception culturelle (movies, TV, and music, essentially). The FT reports:
“Red lines” insisted on by France against any changes in Europe’s rules against importing genetically modified crops, meat produced using growth hormones, chemically cleansed meat and cloned animals are set to be at the heart of discussions when trade pact talks resume after the US government shutdown.“France will be extremely vigilant to ensure that the red lines set out in the [negotiating] mandate given to the European Commission are fully taken into account,” Stéphane Le Foll told the Financial Times in an interview.
Agriculture and cultural products are both key American exports. If America makes it, it appears, the French don’t want to negotiate it.Many EU countries are hungry for a deal. Club Med hopes to open new markets, as their own domestic markets have been killed by the recession. Pro-EU Brits think the deal would help anchor the UK in the EU while making EU markets more open and competitive. Germany’s export powerhouses see a lot to be gained. But from a French point of view, there’s nothing to discuss.In a different system, perhaps, France’s interests would be drowned out by those of its opponents, but Brussels, like Washington, is a system that favors obstructionists. The French position will pose a problem going forward.[Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com]