Montana Farm Bureau President Bob Hanson, along with Wyoming Farm Bureau President Perry Livingston, are part of a delegation of farmers and ranchers traveling to Europe Sept. 15-19 to discuss trade. The American Farm Bureau Trade Advisory Committee will have the opportunity to meet with World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo, as well as with the WTO Director of Agriculture and Commodities, and trade ambassadors from Brazil, Japan, Australia, India, China and Canada. The meetings first take place in Geneva followed by a meeting with the EU in Brussels, Belgium.
The group will discuss efforts to increase agricultural trade through comprehensive trade agreements that reduce and eliminate government-imposed barriers to agricultural trade.
“It’s important the WTO understand that greater strides need to be made to eliminate non-tariff barriers, which are the primary form of trade disruption. Non-tariff trade barriers often take the form of ‘standards’ that are not based on science, but used to manage trade,” Hanson explained. “Trade in agricultural products between the U.S. and the EU is an excellent example of how regulatory barriers can become a significant impediment to growth.”
Reductions in, and limitations on, domestic support for U.S. agriculture are only acceptable if the negotiations yield an important net gain for U.S. farmers and ranchers through commitments on market access and on trade-distorting policies by our trading partners. In light of the positions of many WTO members the negotiations do not appear to be going in a direction which would allow this objective to be achieved.
Following the meeting in Geneva, the group will travel to Brussels to meet with EU officials to discuss the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TTIP negotiations aim to expand the world’s largest commercial relationship with $1 trillion of trade in goods and services annually and $3.7 trillion in two-way direct investment. The U.S. exported $12 billion in agricultural products to the EU in 2013 while the EU exported $17.3 billion in agricultural products to the U.S.
“We have an excellent opportunity to visit with EU officials about agricultural exports,” said Hanson. “Right now the majority of our ag exports are heading to the Pacific Rim. However, it’s important to not be tied to one region but have other outlets for our ag products across the globe.”
Source: MT Farm Bureau
Posted by Northern Ag Network