Home Economy The EU is facing an illusionary barbecue

The EU is facing an illusionary barbecue

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Hello from Brussels, where this week we should find out as the EU is planning to ratify (a kind) quota-free trade deal they signed with Boris Johnson in the final embers of the year. 2020.

Advocates of democracy and good governance may want to reflect the fact that the European Parliament now has nearly four months to scrutinize page 1449. EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the same theme that Westminster kicked off for a day in December to avoid a no-deal Brexit scene.

Meanwhile, companies are busy facing deal limitations, with the deal already in effect temporarily. More info on its impact in Charted Waters.

MEP’s approval of the deal was in place earlier this year after disagreements flared between London and Brussels over trade deals for Northern Ireland. But now everything is moving. The document was passed by the committees of Congress last week and the presidents of parliament on Thursday will decide how to proceed. The broad expectation is a vote of approval next week.

Today’s main commodity includes another food-related trade issue – this is based on the EU’s efforts to aid reconciliation in Cyprus through new export opportunities for halloumi cheeses. .

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More stress associated with cheeses emerged

Brussels and Cyprus announced last week that years of hard negotiations have achieved a long cherished goal for the divided island: ensuring the EU protects the chewy Halloumi chewy, as delicious as a regional delicacy.

Frequent readers may recall that this is not the first time cheese has appeared in Trade Secrets. For example, there was the Stilton time drive a wedge between the UK and Japan, with talks stalled after London called for export quotas for blue cheese and other varieties on favorable terms.

The halloumi suitability was also controversial in some quarters. The reason is that the agreement had effects far beyond the conventional benefits enjoyed by other protected designations such as Parma ham and champagne: in this case, it also opened up rare opportunities for the region. Northern Cyprus is occupied by Turkey to sell agricultural products to the EU Market.

Normally, products such as cheese, which are regulated by EU veterinary law, cannot be sold on the single EU market if they come from northern Cyprus as such regulations are not in force in the region. that of the island. Turkey has held military occupation in the northern region since 1974, which it alone recognizes as a sovereign state.

So far, the only exceptions are fresh fish and honey. In those two cases, the European Commission made decisions that set the specific conditions for such goods to cross the United Nations-supervised Green Line dividing Cyprus, allowing them to enter the single market. of the EU. It is still unclear what actual numbers were sold in the other 26 EU countries.

Now as part of a new agreement for halloumi, a special system has been put in place to allow the sale of cheese from entire islands across the EU, as long as it meets the bloc’s food safety standards. .

The move comes ahead of conflict resolution negotiations convened by the United Nations in Geneva scheduled for April 27-29 and Brussels hopes that this versatile cheese can melt away. diplomatic tape. Josep Borrell, the EU’s senior representative for foreign policy, described the halloumi move (which will also be protected under the Turkish name hellim) as “a strong signal for Cyprus to resume talks. negotiate the settlement as soon as possible according to UN parameters. , towards a common European future. “

While the agreements have been backed by the Cypriot government as a breakthrough for the entire island, some Turkish Cypriot leaders are currently unhappy. The reason is the way the deal comes in which means that Turkish hellim producers will have to adhere to EU standards – something lawmakers in the North see as giving too much power to Government of the Republic of Cyprus and the EU.

For the purposes of the European Union, Cyprus will become the only place on earth that can produce genuine Halloumi cheese, protecting its industry from foreign alternatives that have become ubiquitous. more popular as cheese is becoming more and more popular. Panayiota Patsali, head of the Department of Commerce of the Ministry of Energy and Trade, told The Financial Mirror of the local business said the authorities had to protect the “disease” in more than 80 international cases involving dairy producers trying to register their version of cheese. Nicosia hopes the popularity of cheese will continue to soar in the coming years.

It was a big business. According to the Cypriot government data, more than 33,000 tons of cheese were exported to the EU (UK) in 2019. Brexit, however, has reduced the benefits of special agreements for halls that only apply to markets. EU market. According to Eurostat data, more than half of Cypriot cheese exports to the rest of the EU go to the UK in 2019, the last year the UK becomes an EU member.

EU officials said years of work went into establishing a system of respect for Turkish Cypriot interests and interests. The agreement envisages a halloumi / hellim-led working group on halloumi / hellim attended by representatives from both communities and the EU will increase aid to the Turkish dairy industry to help the sector. meets EU food safety standards. This is combined with controls to ensure that those standards are still strictly adhered to.

An internationally recognized inspection body will oversee that traditional formulations – involving different proportions of sheep, goat and cow’s milk – are being respected, and a private inspection body will advance. inspection of farms and dairy shops in northern Cyprus.

Brussels estimates that there will be significant economic benefits for both communities. On a simpler level, the EU also hopes that it will help people get along, fostering practical green-line cooperation in areas such as animal husbandry.

Ultimately, the proof of whether the system works or not will lie in whether Turkish farmers take advantage of the opportunities the new deals offer, no matter what their politicians think. .

Water is plotted

Despite the increase over the past month, trade flows between the EU and UK are still down from last year – the result of a combination of Covid-19, Brexit reserves and a host of new non-tariff barriers. To understand the impact of the decision to leave the EU, here is a comparison of trade flows between the bloc and the UK, with the flows of a few other major trading partners in the region.

Sugar chart: Exports from the EU to major trading partners (€ m) are shown

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