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Senators Call for Open Markets for US Chicken in TPP Talks

16 January 2014

US - A group of bipartisan Senators, led by Senate Chicken Caucus Co-Chairs Senators Chris Coons and Johnny Isakson, has expressed concern over trade restrictions on US chicken products by several countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.

TPP is a proposed trade agreement currently under negotiation by Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.

The National Chicken Council (NCC) says that, in a letter sent on 14 January, 11 senators urged US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and US Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack to do everything possible to provide for open markets and fair trade of US chicken products.

“The TPP represents a significant opportunity to expand US chicken exports and bring increased economic benefits to chickens growers and companies across the country. Your ongoing commitment to seek the highest possible standard agreement is appreciated,” the senators wrote.

In response to the letter, NCC President Mike Brown said: “I want to thank Senators Coons and Isakson for their leadership on this issue, and the other nine senators who are working to bring fair and open market access for US chicken products.

“TPP is a valuable opportunity to expand agricultural trade, including poultry, and we appreciate these senators keeping our interests on the front burner for USTR and USDA as negotiations continue.”

In addition to Coons and Isakson, senators signing the letter are: Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

“We are particularly concerned about Canada’s supply management program that severely limits US chicken exports to our northern neighbour,” the senators continued. “As you know, despite ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada has continued to impose restrictions on imports of US chicken products and the US has been unsuccessful in lifting those restrictions. We urge you to continue to work to address this long-standing, unjustified issue during the TPP negotiations and create true free trade for US poultry.

“Similarly, we are concerned about Australia and New Zealand’s use of non-scientific barriers related to poultry disease that prohibit trade of US chicken products to these countries. If Australia and New Zealand are to participate in the TPP, they should conform to World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards.

“Finally, Japan’s administrative guidance sets an unofficial quota on US chicken products. Japan is a significant potential market for US chicken products and a truly open trade agreement would create substantial opportunity for growth.”

A copy of the letter can be accessed by clicking here.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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