EU-Japan deal, the #Change is lost

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The EU-Japan agreement (JEFTA) gathers the green light from Luigi Di Maio. What #Change?



On the campaign trail,



M5S and League

had declared opposition to European political, as well as economic, partnership agreements with other countries (e.g., TTIP, CETA, JEFTA). Instead, their government now adheres to the biggest deal ever negotiated by Europe, the EU-Japan Agreement (JEFTA). In continuity with the positions already expressed by Paolo Gentiloni, Maurizio Martina and Carlo Calenda. What #Change?

Partnership agreements, pre-election pacts and the government contract

The 5 Star Movement – In the so-called ”pre-election pact – had committed to ‘Reject agreements that are not preceded by detailed economic, social, and environmental impact assessments at the European, national, and global levels and similarly stringent ex-post impact reviews to correct their potential negative effects‘.

He had thus committed himself, the M5S, a ‘rejecting agreements negotiated without adequate and transparent participation of citizens and their representatives and organizations, starting with elected officials in European and national parliaments and local authorities, to ensure the goal that trade policies prioritize the general interest and not that of powerful lobbies economic’.

The same
Star Blog
‘, less than a year ago, had given voice to the Stop TTIP/ CETA Italy Campaign. Hosting a talk by its spokesperson Monica di Sisto:




For many years our organizations

have been calling for a halt to these treaties that, without adequate social and environmental impact assessments, weaken our countries’ ability to work on a good economy that supports territories and good jobs.

The Jefta is particularly insidious because it will not be subject to ratification by national parliaments, as it does not deal with investment, but like its siblings CETA and TTIP it does not recognize the European precautionary principle, establishes a confidential dialogue between the two sides on rules and rights in which citizens cannot participate.





In addition to forcing a liberalization of services






without guaranteeing adequate protection for our quality products, indeed weakening with the lowering of border controls the protection of the European market from GMO contamination





Of which Japan is the patent leader’




(Stop TTIP/CETA Italy Campaign).

Even the League, before coming into government, had declared firm opposition to the partnership agreements. ‘It is an attempt at genocide of European peoples,’ Matteo Salvini said two years ago about TTIP. ‘An obviously criminal treaty against the European economy,’ which ‘only madmen could endorse.’ Declaring himself completely opposed to ‘a total cession of any sovereignty and control of our trade and agriculture.’

The current minister of the interior, before the March 4 elections, denounced ‘the majority of this Parliament and this Commission is paid by European citizens to serve the interests of others and wipe off the face of the earth the people who have lived in these countries for centuries.’ (1)

The so-called ‘.
government contract
– although sweetened from the original version – committed its members to oppose partnership agreements. ‘With regard to Ceta, MESChina, TTIP and treaties of the same inspiration, we will oppose those aspects that result in an excessive weakening of the protection of citizens’ rights, as well as an impairment of fair and sustainable competition in the internal market.‘ (2)


It will therefore be a priority make sure that these treaties are necessarily qualified as mixed by the European Union and therefore, ratified by the member states and examined by national parliaments according to their respective ratification procedures.’

EU-Japan agreement., the #Change is lost

The newly appointed Economic Development Minister Luigi di Maio, making good on the above commitments, finally declared his assent to the signing of the EU-Japan Partnership Agreement (JEFTA). Without consulting representatives of the affected supply chains, let alone constituents, or convening a technical table. (3)

Instead, the announcement rained down like a bolt from the blue in an interview granted to La Repubblica on July 6, 2018. With two useless buzzwords, he will point out to the European Commission ‘precise conditions concerning agriculture, small businesses and a series of necessary actions.’ What conditions, the actual recognition of our PDOs starting with Parmigiano Reggiano perhaps? Wish it were.

The JEFTA agreement will have a significant impact on our economy. There is only one positive aspect, the gradual liberalization of customs duties. (4) It will be easier to trade food and electric cars to and from the Rising Sun, respectively. But this could have been achieved by a simple agreement, strictly restricted to that.

The marriage contract with Japan-comprising more than 500 pages that we have already analyzed-instead, it includes very delicate aspects. On agriculture and food safety, GMO issue.


first and foremost




, as well as protection of our PDOs and PGIs. (5)

The Parmesan is permanently liberalized because of a European Commission subservient to the interests of Big Food, where one of the 10 sisters, Kraft, is the first counterfeiter of cacio Made in Italy. The president of the Parmesan cheese DOP Nicola Bertinelli for his part – instead of worrying, as we humbly suggested – was exercising his imagination in those days about ‘dop cheeseboards’ in restaurants in Italy. (6)

The #Change is lost. Instead, the yellow-green government has continued the Renziloni-Martina-Calenda line in this matter. Serving the finance and giga-industry lobbies, which have always opposed any system of registration and protection of our specialty foods. (7) And it is an outrage to voters’ intelligence to post on the 5 Star Movement’s Facebook page, where it masks the volte-face by bragging about the convenience of JEFTA for SMEs. (8)


Les jeux sont fait, rien ne va plus
. The EU-Japan agreement is concluded now, without the need for ratification or the possibility of opposition by the National Assemblies.

Dario Dongo

Notes

1) Cf. http://www.eunews.it/2016/05/11/ttip-salvini-e-un-tentativo-di-genocidio-dei-popoli-europei/58197

2) The draft contract was clearer on the issue, stating that ”Regarding Ceta, TTIP, and treaties of the same tenor, we intend to oppose them in all fora, as they result in an excessive weakening of the protection of citizens’ rights, as well as an injury to virtuous competition to the detriment of the sustainability of the internal market’

3) https://stop-ttip-italia.net/2018/07/08/di-maio-firma-il-jefta-e-gli-impegni-elettorali-ci-incontri-subito/

4) A measure that often proves to be only apparent, given that technical barriers to trade among G20 countries have doubled in the past six months, according to WTO/WTO report 4.7.18. Cf. https://www.wto.org/french/news_f/news18_f/monit_04jul18_f.htm

5) Without neglecting the unbridled liberalization of services, among other aspects

6) See article ‘dop cheese makers in restaurants,’ in Italia Oggi, 4/25/18

7) To better understand the phenomenon, just look at https://www.gfi.org/the-great-parmesan-gaffe

(8) V. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1629235214025737/permalink/2153865994895987/. The writer recently assisted an Italian industry in the frozen food sector, which was forced to destroy several pallets of products (ascolane olives and arancini) stuck at Osaka customs. Products made in full compliance with EU rules were destroyed because of quibbling Japanese regulations with no health justification. The matter was referred, through the European Commission, to the WTO-SPS Committee (Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures.). But paying for the technical barriers to trade, meanwhile, was the Italian enterprise