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Secretary Perdue encouraged by discussions with European Union

Source: Wikimedia Commons

U.S. officials continue their pursuit to balance trade with Europe.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue concluded recent overseas travel. Secretary Perdue this week met with his European counterparts to discuss important issues facing agriculture at home and abroad. 

He felt encouraged, “as the President of the EU and President Trump were conversant and friendly regarding a ‘weeks, not months’ timeline on progress.” Perdue says sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues were a key focus of recent discussions.

“Initially we’re looking at SPS issues, of which there is a significant list. We think they can get close to equalizing (the) trade balance between the two entities, if they do that,” Perdue said.

European officials voiced concerns about the United States’ cleaning process for chickens. U.S. officials squashed those concerns by reassuring safety in this process, according to Perdue.

“We’ve been clear about this. We believe the pathogen reduction treatment we use, peracetic acid, is a safe product that’s acknowledged worldwide. Our U.S. consumers consume chicken that’s been used that way, as well as guests visiting from Europe and none the worse for wear,” Perdue said. 

Another issue U.S. trade officials hope to address is geographical indication (GI), which the European Commission uses as a means to “identify a product whose quality, reputation or other such characteristics relate to its geographical origin.”

“We feel they’re generic in scope and have no basis in trademarks. They feel differently and have tried to promulgate that around the world with their free trade agreements. We don’t necessarily agree with that, and would like to see those items not be included in any trade agreement,” Perdue said. 

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