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Exposing Trade Barriers - Impacts on U.S. Agriculture

By Farms.com

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has recently published the 2023 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, an essential tool for understanding the landscape of international trade.   

This comprehensive report delves into the myriad barriers that hinder the export of U.S. goods and services, direct investments abroad, and electronic commerce, particularly emphasizing the agricultural sector. 

Agriculture remains a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, and the report outlines several impediments that challenge this sector, including: 

  • Cumbersome food facility registration requirements, making market entry more difficult. 
  • The application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures that diverge from scientific principles. 
  • Non-transparent and burdensome import licensing requirements. 
  • Technical barriers such as overly restrictive standards, labeling requirements, and technical regulations. 
  • A general lack of adherence to international science- and risk-based standards across various markets. 

Noteworthy examples highlighted in the report include Indonesia's strict facility registration for dairy and meat products, Mexico's approach to agricultural biotechnology, the EU's policies on crop protection technologies, and China's deviation from global scientific standards.  

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is closely monitoring these developments. Recognizing the profound impact of these barriers on the U.S. pork industry, the NPPC is gearing up to advocate for the elimination of both tariff and non-tariff barriers through comprehensive trade agreements.  

The Council underscores the significance of these efforts in bolstering U.S. pork exports, which have notably contributed to the nation's economy with a record $8.2 billion in exports last year, reaching over 100 countries. 

Given the extensive reach of the U.S. agricultural exports—encompassing 99% of goods and 66% of services to 64 key markets—the implications of these trade barriers are profound. They not only affect the agricultural sector but also the wider U.S. economy, supporting approximately 1 million American jobs.  

The NTE Report, published annually since 1985, continues to be a critical resource in identifying and addressing these obstacles, with the goal of fostering fair and equitable trade practices that can enhance the prosperity of U.S. agriculture and the overall economy. 


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