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USTR Publishes Negotiating Objectives for U.S.-EU Trade Talks

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

(North American Meat Institute)

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently published a summary of negotiating objectives for U.S.-European Union (EU) trade talks. The Trump Administration last year notified Congress of its intention to negotiate a trade agreement with the EU and solicited public comments to inform its priorities. The U.S.’s top objective is to improve its trade balance and reduce its trade deficit with the E.U., which totaled more than $151 million in 2017.

The summary also details the U.S.’s priorities for transatlantic agricultural trade. According to USTR, a U.S.-EU trade agreement should secure comprehensive market access for U.S. agricultural goods in the EU by reducing or eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers that discriminate against U.S. agricultural goods. Moreover, USTR intends to prioritize sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) in trade negotiations, stating a final agreement should “establish a mechanism to remove expeditiously unwarranted barriers that block the export of U.S. food and agricultural products in order to obtain more open, equitable and reciprocal market access.” This includes ensuring SPS measures are based on science.

Congress now has 30 days to review the objectives, meaning negotiations could start as soon as February 11. The European Commission must also adopt a negotiation mandate, which must then be approved by EU member countries, ahead of formal trade talks.

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