(Posted Fri. Mar 15th, 2013)
Mar. 15: The National Corn Growers Association joined more than 60 organizations representing farm groups, food manufacturers and other industry stakeholders to send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk applauding the decision to launch negotiations with the European Union on a transatlantic free trade agreement. The groups noted that while they support the progress toward an agreement, U.S. agricultural and food industries have a variety of concerns that need to be addressed during negotiations.
The groups commended Kirk for his insistence that the agreement be comprehensive and ambitious. However, the letter stresses that negotiations must tackle market access and resolve significant barriers to trade in a single undertaking, citing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a model.
The final report of the U.S.-EU High Level Working Group stated that an agreement “should be designed to evolve over time – i.e., substantially eliminate existing barriers to trade and investment, while establishing mechanisms that enable a further deepening of economic integration, particularly with respect to the promotion of more compatible approaches to current and future regulation and standard-setting and other means of reducing non-tariff barriers to trade.”
The inclusion of this statement in the report raises some concern that a final trade deal could be reached without resolving current roadblocks to agricultural trade. NCGA is seeking reassurances about barriers to trade in agricultural products derived through biotechnology. The HLWG report makes a recommendation to negotiate a resolution to sanitary and phytosanitary issues based in science and international standards. If these issues are not addressed, the EU could continue unjustifiable regulations that affect imports of corn and corn co-products.
To read the letter in its entirety, click here.