Farm groups press US officials to push for more EU access
US farm, automaker and food and beverage groups pressed the Trump administration on Friday to ensure that any new trade talks with the European Union lead to an increase in their access to EU markets with less red tape.
US President Donald Trump has demanded better terms of trade for the US from China, the EU and Japan. Washington has already reworked the North American trade treaty with neighbors Mexico and Canada. Trump said poor trade deals have cost the US millions of jobs.
At a hearing on US negotiating objectives for trade talks with the European Union, groups representing farmers, food and automobile companies said they wanted to be included in the talks and that reducing tariffs and regulatory restrictions should be a key objective.
The US Trade Representative notified lawmakers in October of its plans to pursue the trade talks, though it has been unclear whether agriculture and automobiles would be included as a joint statement from the regions in July called for reductions but gave little direction on either sector.
“It is fundamental that food and agriculture issues are a key component of this agreement,” US Grains Council Director of Trade Policy Floyd Gaibler said at the hearing.
That sentiment was echoed by others throughout the farm and food sector, as well as automaker groups. Testimony from the hearing will feed into the USTR’s formulation of negotiating objectives for the talks. It is unclear exactly when those discussions will begin.
The farm and food groups on Friday also urged US officials to address tariff barriers and other regulatory and labeling issues that hinder US access to the lucrative European market.
The European Union has more stringent standards than the United States regarding the use of pesticides, hormones and biotechnology in food crops. US producers of products from beef to pistachios say these limit their access to the European market.