50 Years of Conflict and Convergence
Chapter 2: Turbulent markets and increasing trade conflicts (1972 to 1985)
If the US was concerned about loss of agricultural markets in the newly established EEC, it was even more alarmed by the prospect of the accession of the UK, a long-time supporter of liberal trade and a country enjoying a “special relationship” with the US. The UK had a history of importing a significant share of its food supply and maintaining low consumer prices. It had considerable potential for expansion of production, and the high prices of the EEC could decrease its role as a major importer of cereals. Another one of the European markets would progressively be lost to US exporters. However, the other side of the coin was that the influence of the UK on the development of the CAP could steer that policy towards a more open future. Though ultimately this latter view proved illusory, the entry of the UK (along with the smaller livestock producing countries Ireland and Denmark) did have the effect of focusing attention on the CAP as a policy of global (rather than purely regional) significance. Among other issues it brought to the front the question of trade with countries in the Commonwealth. Adding to these worries was the emergence of the countries of the original six EEC members as significant net exporters of a number of farm products. Adoption of modern farming techniques and the incentive of high and stable prices resulted in production surplus to domestic requirements.
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