Volume 12, Number 3, Mai-Juin 2005
|Page(s)||196 - 202|
|Section||Le rôle des marchés|
|Published online||15 May 2005|
La question de l’autosuffisance protéique est-elle définitivement obsolète pour l’Union Européenne ?
Département de gestion et économie rurale AgroCampus/ENSA, 65, rue de Saint Brieuc CS 84215 F-35042 Rennes CEDEX
(33) 2 23 48 54 11
Is the issue of European self-sufficiency in vegetal proteins definitely obsolete? The issue is reviewed from two standpoints: economic relevance and political feasibility in regards to international relations. Self sufficiency has a cost in terms of global welfare. Be it defined at the aggregate for food, or even for a core input of the European animal sector such as feed proteins, full self sufficiency is not seen as defensible from an economic standpoint. However food security may be a legitimate objective. It should be pursued by many tools and should first resort to the most efficient ones. Self supply is just one among several. A sensible criterion for a target degree of self sufficiency is when the marginal welfare cost of self sufficiency balances the welfare gain in terms of food security. Given the very low level of coverage of the European demand by domestic sources (20%) and due to other risk factors, it seems plausible that an increase in self sufficiency would be appropriate. The political feasibility is low, due to the built-in bias of the CAP in favour of grains. The zero bound tariff in the first GATT round, the Blair House agreement in the Uruguay round have kept the EU in a straight jacket. In the Agenda 2000, the Commission has even anticipated the pressure of the US, probably excessively in view of the extension of flexibility payments to Soya in the 2002 US Farm Act. The concern for increased self sufficiency seems now to have faded away. What is left is mostly a strategy of security through a reliable rule-based trading system. The club of multifunctionnal countries should press exporters to concede the end the derogation to the GATT Article XI which allows them to restrain export in case of shortage. If a crisis on world markets would occur, followed as in the past by embargoes or other export restraints, the issue of self sufficiency would come back to the front scene.
Key words: self-sufficiency / EU / vegetal proteins
© John Libbey Eurotext 2005
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