"Pork producers have a huge stake in the TTIP negotiations," Giordano said. "We've got everything to gain."
Thursday's press call follows Spronk's in-depth discussion last week with industry officials and producers at the World Pork Expo regarding the TTIP negotiations. There, he noted that sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues are largely to blame for limited U.S. access to EU markets.
The same week NPPC was presenting its position on the TTIP, Canada released a list of proposed items that could be subject to increased tariff and other trade barriers if the USDA's Country of Origin Labeling rules aren't up to snuff with World Trade Organization specifications.
The issue stems from USDA's recent revisions of the labeling provisions, which were meant to increase WTO compliance. Canada and Mexico, however, maintain that even with the revised provisions, labeling on certain products sways consumers toward domestic products and hurts trade.
The organization has previously said it supports labeling, but only in terms that Mexico and Canada are pleased with.
"Our greatest concern is the potential for retaliation," Giordano said. Though both countries have released lists of products to be potentially used as retaliatory measures, they currently have no right to retaliate, Giordano said.
First, the WTO must determine if the new rule as submitted by the USDA is acceptable under WTO rules. That process could take a year or more. If WTO rules U.S. regulations are still unsatisfactory, then Mexico and Canada have the option to petition the WTO for formal retaliation.
"The U.S. pork industry, pork producers are very concerned, and we want the U.S. to come into compliance with WTO rules," Giordano explained.
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