WASHINGTON – A coalition of 40 food and agricultural groups including the National Pork Producers Council are voicing concern over a proposed free-trade agreement between the US and the European Union.
In a letter to the Obama administration, the group argued that some US products and industries could get short-changed without a comprehensive trade pact.
“Some non-agricultural members of the business community have suggested that a US-EU FTA negotiation should not be pursued as a ‘single undertaking’ with success in one area dependent on success in all the others,” said R.C. Hunt, NPPC president, a pork producer from Wilson, NC. “The agriculture community, however, believes that, rather than creating a high-standard 21st Century trade agreement that is central to the administration’s trade policy efforts, approaches other than a single undertaking would assure the perpetuation of trade barriers to many US products and sectors, including agriculture.”
The letter also states that the agriculture industry wants to see what it calls “unjustifiable EU sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions on US food and agricultural products” removed in order to improve the bilateral relationship between the EU and US. Finally, keeping agriculture in trade deals helps keep food affordable.
“Negotiations between the US and the EU to achieve these objectives should not be pursued as a “single undertaking” with success in one area dependent on success in all the others,” the letter stated. “Rather, negotiators should seek positive outcomes in each area at whatever negotiating pace is possible. Moreover, forward movement should not be stymied by attempting to resolve all those difficult issues that have proven intractable in the past.”