WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Chicken Council this week joined a coalition of 40 food and agricultural groups in voicing concern over a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the European Union (EU).
In a letter sent March 21 to the Obama administration and Congress the groups argued the proposed agreement might fall short of long-established U.S. objectives for trade pacts. In particular, the coalition does not agree with the recommended approach to the negotiations, described as follows:
“Negotiations between the US and the EU to achieve these objectives should not be pursued as a “single undertaking” with success in one area dependent on success in all the others,” the letter stated. “Rather, negotiators should seek positive outcomes in each area at whatever negotiating pace is possible. Moreover, forward movement should not be stymied by attempting to resolve all those difficult issues that have proven intractable in the past.”
The coalition letter makes clear that the removal of unjustifiable EU sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions on U.S. food and agricultural products would have to be an important part of the overall goal of improving the bilateral U.S.-EU relationship. The letter also points out that keeping agriculture in trade deals is a way for governments around the world to help keep the price of food affordable. “We need to see this as the critical national security issue that it surely is,” the agricultural groups stressed.
The letter concluded, “In short, we strongly believe that this proposed approach is a recipe for a small, rather than a bold, transatlantic trade deal that would set an unfortunate precedent for all future trade negotiations.”
To read the letter in its entirety, click here.