WASHINGTON – US poultry groups gave big thumbs –up to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks. The United States and European Union proposed talks begin on the Transatlantic free-trade agreement.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIIP) would further open EU markets to US exports; strengthen investment; and address non-tariff trade barriers, among other initiatives. In a joint statement, the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and US Poultry & Egg Association, expressed strong support for TIIP.

"US Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk and the other officials at the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) have not only worked long and diligently to reach this point, but USTR also listened-to and accepted recommendations that agriculture and unwarranted non-tariff barriers, especially non-science based sanitary and phytosanitary provisions, be an important part of the negotiations and that any final trade agreement successfully address these issues," the groups said.

"The EU has many unwarranted non-tariff trade barriers that severely limit or prohibit the export of certain US agricultural products to the EU. Chief among the issues is the EU's prohibition against pathogen-reduction treatments for poultry. The result of this non-science based action is that the United States has not been able to export poultry to the EU since 1997. When TTIP negotiations are successfully concluded, US poultry producers look forward to marketing over $500 million of products to the EU on an annual basis."

Leaders from the US and the EU anticipate talks will begin by summer.