Knocking down all trade barriers to grow market access for U.S. farmers and ranchers must be a priority when negotiators from the United States and the United Kingdom launch trade agreement talks later this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“The negotiations should aim to eliminate any remaining tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to U.S. agricultural exports that have continued after the U.K. leaves the European Union. The current $1.8 billion annually of agricultural exports from the U.S. to the U.K. can be significantly increased through the elimination of tariff and nontariff barriers imposed upon agricultural imports,” AFBF said in comments to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Specifically, U.S. negotiators should ensure that long-standing issues with the U.K., such as tariff reduction, unscientific barriers to U.S. beef, pork and poultry, the biotechnology approval process and the use of geographic indicators, are addressed in the negotiations.
The agreement should, Farm Bureau said, restore science as the basis for food safety regulation by removing unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions on U.S. beef, poultry and pork. Going beyond the provisions in the World Trade Organization SPS Agreement, the U.S.-U.K. trade pact should strengthen disciplines on science and risk analysis and include provisions on “equivalency in regulatory systems” and disciplines on import checks. The agreement should also provide for transparency in rulemaking.
Among the top biotechnology-related objectives are provisions that commit parties to foster transparency and science-based regulations in their decision-making process. In addition, the timely authorization of biotech products and procedures for responding to the detection of a low-level presence of biotech material in a shipment of agricultural commodities or food products are important.
Farm Bureau also called for the removal of restrictions on the use of common names for dairy and meat products in the U.K. market. “The geographic indications policies of the European Union have created obstacles for U.S. agricultural exports around the world and these barriers must be removed,” Farm Bureau noted.
The group concluded, “A trade agreement with the United Kingdom must result in expanded market access for America’s farmers and ranchers. The competitive situation for agricultural exports requires a high-standards agreement that expands trade opportunities and provides real benefits for U.S. producers.”