The social effects of the GATT Agreement on the Common Agricultural Policy:
- The decoupling of income support payments from market . The present arrangements are an inefficient and market distorting way of supporting rural communities, and of achieving the wider social policy objectives.
- A reduction in supply controls and a move to a freer’ market approach.
As has already been foreshadowed in Britain, there will be a shift to effective and holistic policies for the rural economy and for the maintenance of rural communities.
- A greater emphasis on cross-compliance, especially on environmental issues within the single market. There will be a need for Europeans to speedily exploit developments in agricultural research and development, to achieve a competitive edge. The impact of this move to a more environmental focus will have an effect on New Zealand Agriculture. We will be forced to meet or exceed their level of environmental standards. In this major area our land based industries must act on now, documenting environmental outcomes, not only to demonstrate that we are clean and green, but that we are on a continuing plane of improvement. The phasing out of export subsidies and thus real pressure to curb both over-production within Europe, and to maintain the present EU share of world markets.
- Increased legislation and consumer pressure on animal welfare issues.
Despite the best intentions for a managed change, it may take a crisis, before any major changes to policy will occur. It is unlikely any change will occur until early in the next century and in the intervening period, Europe will continue to be largely cocooned from the free market. The forces of the international marketplace will not be felt at anywhere near the pace as in this country.