EU - During the ninth round of negotiations between the US and EU on a potential free trade agreement, european agricultural organisation Copa-Cogeca has said that red tape and technical barriers must be removed if the talks are to be successful.
Speaking at the stakeholders forum during the talks, Copa-Cogeca Commodities and Trade Director Arnaud Petit warned of the adminstrative problems for exporting produce to the US, such as costly labelling rules.
“For example, EU dairy producers face huge obstacles when trying to market Grade A milk products in the US. EU cheeses are denied access to the US market because the label fails to use hairline, bars and bold type in an appropriate format.
"Hard cheeses, semi-soft cheeses and soft ripened cheeses have to wait 60 days before circulating on the US market. The main issue here appears to be the testing methods which are not the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
"In the fruit and vegetables sector, a limited number of products are allowed to enter the US market after a pre-clearance procedure, such as apples and pears.
"The pre-clearance process involves a slow and burdensome bureaucratic system, with which it is very difficult to comply: Five controls take place throughout the entire procedure, from the orchard to the packing shed, before the true pre-clearance inspection."
Mr Petit stressed that these barriers to trade must be overcome to ensure a successful outcome to the free trade talks between the EU and US.
"Those types of non-tariff barriers prohibit the opportunity for small and medium-sized European companies to benefit from the potential market.
"This must be addressed. It is crucial to ensure that non-tariff trade barriers are tackled.
"We believe that most of the gains from a trade deal – three quarters in fact – come from lifting non-tariff trade barriers.
"We therefore urge negotiatiors to ensure these are lifted,” he added.
Together with the European food industry, Copa-Cogeca put together a report on non-tariff barriers, which should be addressed as part of the negotiations. The report mainly addresses areas with a significant impact on businesses and jobs.
Following the political decision last year, Copa-Cogeca has also urged the US authorities to allow the export of European beef to the US market as soon as possible, and to preserve the EU system of geographical indications which protects European quality produce from imitations.
The move comes during the 9th round of negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and US.
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