House Members Defend Agriculture in EU Trade Agreement

Thursday, March 14, 2019

House Members Defend Agriculture in EU Trade Agreement

Walorski Leads Bipartisan Letter to USTR Signed by 114 Members

WASHINGTON – Today, 114 House members led by Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in support of keeping agricultural products as a key negotiating objective in any proposed trade agreement with the European Union (EU). The European Commission has specifically excluded agricultural products in draft negotiations and Commission officials continually state their unwillingness to include agriculture in the negotiation process.

“As you know, agriculture is the source of a great number of trade barriers and irritants in the U.S.-EU trading relationship. Thus, an agreement with the EU that does not address trade in agriculture would be, in our eyes, unacceptable,” the members wrote. “We want to voice our strong support for the inclusion of agriculture in the upcoming discussions and to reiterate that an agreement that fails to include agricultural products would be deficient, significantly jeopardizing Congressional support.”

A signed copy of the letter is available here. The full text is below.

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,

We write today to urge you to insist on the inclusion of agricultural products in upcoming trade negotiations with the European Union (EU). As you know, agriculture is the source of a great number of trade barriers and irritants in the U.S.-EU trading relationship. Thus, an agreement with the EU that does not address trade in agriculture would be, in our eyes, unacceptable.

The United States and EU share one of the largest trading relationships in the world, but there are many ways in which the two sides can further grow and improve this relationship. Nowhere is this more evident than in trade in agricultural products. Exports from hardworking American farmers and ranchers across the country face barriers to the EU market, including high tariffs, unscientific sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and protectionist policies on geographical indications that hurt American exports not only to the EU but also to countries all over the world.

We were encouraged to see that the negotiating objectives for the EU that your office released in January included specific objectives on agricultural goods. At the same time, we were deeply disappointed that the European Commission’s draft negotiating mandates specifically excluded agricultural products and that Commission officials continue to state publicly that they will not discuss agriculture in the negotiations.

We want to voice our strong support for the inclusion of agriculture in the upcoming discussions and to reiterate that an agreement that fails to include agricultural products would be deficient, significantly jeopardizing Congressional support.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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