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Strategies of Secession and Counter-Secession

Balancing Food Security and Food Safety Interests in Trade Policy Making: The Case of EU – US Relations

European Union
Arild Aurvåg Farsund
University of Stavanger
Arild Aurvåg Farsund
University of Stavanger
Frode Veggeland
Universitetet i Oslo

Food security and food safety are contested issues in international trade negotiations. One important reason is that both issues have a scientific dimension and a political-economic dimension. Although the two issues are closely connected, the political discussions are distinct because they mobilise different domestic interest. A core question regarding food security is ‘who produces the food?’ Hence, producer interests are strongly affected. A core question regarding food safety is ‘how to avoid consumption of unsafe food?’ Thus, consumer interests are strongly affected. Arguably, these different policy-characteristics have consequences for how to balance the interests of important stakeholders in trade negotiations. Food security and food safety are particularly interesting cases because first, they are different with regard to the interests involved, and second, because they belong to the same policy area (food and agricultural policies), and are thus linked to each other within the same trade negotiations. Thus, these cases are well suited for a study of the coordination and balancing of interests in international trade. This paper investigates the role of food security and food safety in transatlantic relation from the start of the Uruguay Round negotiations in GATT in 1986, until the deadlock in TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership) negotiations following the US presidential election in 2016. We ask how the negotiating parties have assessed the risk elements in trade discussions. In this context, the risk elements relate to both health interests of consumers and economic interest of producers. The basic puzzle we address is two-fold: How have EU and US positions on food security and food safety changed over time due to the mobilisation of different interest? How have changes in the balancing of interests affected the potential for reaching an agreement between the two parties? The paper applies an analytical framework based on policy-coordination in order to address these questions. The aim is to identify enabling and constraining factors in trade negotiations. Data is collected through elite interviews and analysis of position papers, legal documents and policy documents.
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