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U.S. fights for trade deal with EU

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Trade negotiations with the European Union have been rocky.

American officials recently received word from European counterparts that agriculture would no longer be a part of a trade deal between the two parties. The United States is pushing back against this decision.

The European Union (EU) cannot exclude agriculture from a trade deal, according to United States agriculture officials. A month ago, the European Union asserted “no agriculture” in its mandate for a trade deal with the United States. The alarming news upset agriculture entities across the nation, particularly the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). AFBF trade advisor Dave Salmonsen offers his two-cents.

“We’ve long wanted the EU to make changes and we still do. If we ever come back to talks, we’ll want them to make those changes, again. That hasn’t moved for us,” Salmonsen said.

A major sticking point in negotiations is European Union food standards. Salmonsen says the political and economic union, made up of 28 member states, refuses to change its food standards and accept more competition from the United States.

“…their restrictions on our meat sales, their use of geographic indicators, which also can restrict our sales of dairy and meat products into the EU,” Salmonsen said.

Unfortunately, the discrepancies do not end there.

“We’ve started this off with the EU, with the tariffs on steel and aluminum. The EU has retaliated, putting 25-percent tariffs on many U.S. products, including several Ag products,” Salmonsen said.