GLOBAL - US consumers increasingly appreciate quality EU agri-food produce, but red tape and other obstacles to trade stop exports entering the market, according to European agricultural organization Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen.
Speaking as the eighth round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations were taking place in Brussels this week, Mr Pesonen warned that these obstacles must be removed if the free trade talks between the EU and US are to succeed.
Speaking at a key stakeholder event, Mr Pesonen said: "There are both opportunities and challenges to be had from a potential agreement.
“The US is our biggest client for agri-food products but it could be further developed. A major concern for us is about red tape and logistical problems in exporting produce to the US like costly labelling and shipping rules.
"Removing non-tariff barriers would provide the biggest gains on both sides of the Atlantic - three quarters in fact.
“Together with the EU food industry, we have put together a report listing those that must be removed. For example, the pre-clearance process for fruit and vegetables prevents produce from entering the US market as it is a slow and burdensome bureaucratic system increasing producers costs.
“It is also impossible to market products using Grade A milk in the US and some cheeses made from raw milk mainly due to the testing methods which are not the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
“EU cheeses are also refused US market access because the labels are not in the same format. No EU beef meat is yet accessing the US market despite the U.S. authorities decision to allow imports in last year.
“These issues which effectively block exports reaching the US market must be overcome if a deal is to be had. The EU system of geographical origins which protect European quality produce from imitations must also be acknowledged,” he said.
Hundreds of people were expected to attend the two stakeholder outreach events organised by the negotiators in the margins of the round.
TheMeatSite News Desk