The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is reluctant to support a trade agreement between the United States and the European Union (EU) if the deal fails to include agriculture.
The European Commission issued draft negotiating mandates to EU members on Friday, a same-day NPCC release
said. The mandate does not involve discussions of agriculture, though such talks in trade agreements are important, particularly in one between the U.S. and the EU, Jim Monroe, NPCC’s senior director of public relations, told Farms.com Tuesday.
“The EU maintains high levels of tariff protection as well as scientifically unjustifiable sanitary-phytosanitary and technical barriers to trade that make shipment of U.S. pork to the EU difficult, if not impossible,” he said. “The EU rejects new food technologies and competition from imports. The U.S. pork industry, on the other hand, views new technologies and competition to be the foundational to providing safe and affordable food to a rapidly growing global population.
“The EU must recognize the equivalence of U.S. animal health and meat inspection practices in ensuring food safety before an agreement can be reached.”
NPCC representatives are infuriated over the exclusion of ag, NPPC president and Ohio pork producer, Jim Heimerl, said in the release.
“The EU is one of the most protected markets in the world for a lot of agricultural products, including pork,” he said. “We are pleased that the Trump administration has been resolute in its demand that agriculture be included in the talks.
“If the EU wants to conclude a trade deal that will be approved by the U.S. Congress, it needs to negotiate on agriculture,” he added.
Farming is a component of all U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs), however, it is commonly “wholly or partially excluded from EU FTAs,” the release said. Many trade lawyers feel that the EU’s trade deals fail to abide by World Trade Organization rules as the deals do not address “substantially all trade.”
NPPC insists that a trade deal between the U.S. and EU should include ag discussions. In December, NPCC and 52 other farm and food groups sent a letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, requesting the Trump administration continues to stress to the EU that “only a truly comprehensive agreement will be acceptable to the Administration and, ultimately, to the U.S. Congress,” the release said.
Opening the EU market to U.S. pork would lead to billions of dollars in new exports to Europe, the release said, referencing the work of Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University economist.
The U.S. faced a trade deficit in food and ag goods of roughly $11 billion last year due to EU barriers. In 2000, this deficit was $1.8 billion.
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