WASHINGTON – The National Chicken Council raised concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed trade agreement between the United States and European Union. In testimony before the United States International Trade Commission, Bill Roenigk, NCC president, said the EU has used technical barriers to prevent import competition from the US poultry industry.

Roenigk said the EU theoretically is a very attractive potential market for US poultry with nearly 400 million consumers and a high standard of living. The value of poultry imports to the EU ranged from $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion, with more than 60 percent of poultry imports coming from Brazil. US poultry exports to the EU are estimated at roughly $600 million annually.

But the long term value of the EU poultry is even greater considering per capita poultry consumption in the EU-27 is almost 18 kg. (40 lbs.). This compares to 44 kg. (97 lbs.) in Brazil, 43 kg. (95 lbs.) in the US, and 39 kg. (86 lbs.) in Argentina.

"Theory, however, does not provide sufficient grounds for real market access," Roenigk said. "As seen in the past the European Union acts aggressively by overly-protecting the domestic poultry producing industry. Non-tariff barriers, especially technical barriers to trade, prevent import competition from US poultry."

"We hope that we will, at some point, be able to strongly support this initiative," Roenigk concluded. "However, until there is a clear indication of how this agreement will result in real and meaningful market access with the elimination of all non-tariff trade barriers to our products, we do not see how the TTIP is in the interests of our industry, our member companies, our workers, or the tens of thousands family farmers who grow chickens in the United States."

Roenigk delivered testimony at a public hearing on behalf of the National Chicken Council, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and the National Turkey Federation (NTF).