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Potential U.S. ag trade with the EU

Potential U.S. ag trade with the EU

The European Union wants to have a deal done by March 18

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. ag industry may benefit from a trade package the European Union is working on.

Officials with the EU trading bloc are said to be working on a set of concessions to present to the Trump administration, which include accelerating the EU’s approval process for GMO crops and allowing U.S. imports of tallow.

The EU currently has strict policies with regards to biotechnology.

The bloc has established a framework under which GMO development must fall in order to be considered safe.

But the regulations appear to be too restrictive.

“The single (GMO corn) variety authorized for cultivation (in the EU) is banned in 19 member states,” a 2018 USDA report said.

Only Spain and Portugal grew a combined 321,100 acres of GMO corn in 2018.

The EU does conduct “basic” biotechnology research, and the private sector’s interest in the research is lowering, the report added.

Phil Hogan, the EU’s trade chief, hopes to have a deal in place with the United States by March 18, the date the U.S. will increase its tariffs on European airplane manufacturer Airbus from 10 to 15 per cent.

U.S. ag industry reps are confident recent trade agreements will help the trading relationship between America and the EU.

“Part of (the EU’s) willingness to negotiate on (biotechnology) has come because China has been willing to negotiate on those things, USMCA has been signed, which has language in it around the biotech issues and regulatory issues,” Kevin Scott, vice president of the American Soybean Association, told WNAX.

Farmers in the EU have expressed an interest in employing modern ag practices, Scott said.

European producers describe their ag industry as a “food museum” because they’re farming like it’s the 1950s.

“The technology has been limited over there and (there’s) very little use of it,” Scott said. has reached out to U.S. ag industry groups for comment.

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