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Macron rejects ag in trade talks with U.S.

Macron rejects ag in trade talks with U.S.

American ag products don’t meet the same standards as those from the European Union, the French president said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The leader of the top ag-producing country in the European Union is opposed to including agriculture in the EU’s trade discussions with the United States.

The EU holds its farmers to standards which U.S. producers don’t meet, French president Emmanuel Macron said during the International Agriculture Fair in Paris, France on Saturday.

“That’s why France, along with the European Commission, has opposed any trade negotiations with the United States on agricultural products,” he said, Bloomberg reported.

Those comments come about a month after the EU agreed to allow the use of U.S. soybeans in biodiesel.

But, last week, the EU warned it would suspend commitments to purchase U.S. soybeans if President Trump moved forward with auto tariffs.

American farmers are hopeful the EU will change its mind about ag trade.

“As a farmer and a director with the American Soybean Association (ASA), I feel agriculture should be included in any trade talks,” Pam Snelson from Wann, Okla., told Farms.com. “The ASA has repeatedly requested that agriculture be a part of the U.S. and EU trade agreement. The (United States Trade Representative) included ag in their negotiation, but the EU has not.”

The EU imported a total of about US$156 billion worth of ag goods in 2017.

The European Union is preparing to renegotiate its Common Agricultural Policy. The legislation implements several ag subsidies and other programs.

With Britain’s departure from the bloc, the European Commission has proposed about US$414 billion in ag spending for the next budget, which runs from 2021 to 2027. That figure represents about a 5 percent reduction in ag spending.

“European agriculture has always been a given, (and) it is today under threat,” Macron said during the farm show, Reuters reported. “No farmer or consumer wants to be subjected to the diktat of non-European countries.”

Farms.com has reached out to the American Farm Bureau Federation and the United States Department of Agriculture for comment.

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