AMI has joined 33 other U.S. agriculture and agribusiness organizations and companies in cautioning President Bush against committing to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia before resolving a number of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers impeding U.S. exports to that country. An August 23 letter notes that although Australia is a champion of free trade and a key U.S. ally in pushing for a more open global trading system for agricultural products, "it has a miserable international reputation on SPS issues." Currently, Australia blocks imports of U.S. pork, chicken, corn, stone fruit, as well as grapes, apples and citrus from certain U.S. states. The August 23 letter notes that an agreement to enter into FTA negotiations with Australia while these barriers remain would send a very undesirable message. Australia's prime minister will be in Washington in early September to confer with President Bush. The president is expected to seek a commitment to begin negotiations aimed at creating a free trade agreement between the U.S. and Australia.
To read the letter,
AMI Cautions President Bush to Resolve Sanitary/Phytosanitary Issues Before Negotiating FTA With AustraliaThursday, August 30, 2001