The world’s main agricultural producers, Europe and the U.S., are locked in an uncompromising dispute worth tens of billions of euros a year.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in an interview with Politico expressed dissatisfaction with Europe’s decision to halve pesticide use by 2030, increasing the level of organic farming. Already today, the shelves of European stores offer an expanded range of so-called organic products produced without the use of chemicals. And their cost is not much higher than their conventional counterparts.
Politico points out that this approach is unacceptable to Washington. “We have to feed the whole world!” – exclaims the U.S. minister, but what it really means is that farmers must provide super profits to chemical and biotech multinationals.
France, which will take over the presidency of the EU next year, intends to legalize the restriction of imports of products that fall short of European standards, including the use of agrochemicals. Emmanuel Macron has pledged to prevent cheap, low-grade products from entering Europe, ruining local farmers. The influential farming lobby in the U.S. is terrified at the prospect of running into a European trade barrier when Europeans, for example, refuse to accept goods with traces of chemicals. Already, the EU refuses to buy U.S. meat from animals fed on steroid hormones.
Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for liberating Europe from the glut of agricultural chemicals, warns that the world’s current system forces farmers to constantly increase production. In his view, this approach brings the earth to its limits. In response, Washington frightens everyone with the onset of global hunger. Americans say Europe wants to turn the continent into an organic supermarket. At the UN meeting on food systems, there was never a debate on the disagreement between Europe and the United States.