USTR Reports Detail Ag Trade Successes

Report finds sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers still a battle to be won, but several trade agreements are leading the way

Published on: Apr 2, 2013

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Monday released three annual reports detailing efforts to limit technical barriers to trade – including sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations – and negotiation successes with importing countries.

Acting United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis in a press call Monday said the reports identify the barriers as well as the initiative USTR is undertaking to secure market access for made-in-America goods and services.

In the past year, three trade negotiations have advanced the push to limit TBT, including the free trade agreement with Korea, Columbia, and Panama, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and a World Trade Organization initiative to strengthen international compliance to trade regulations.

Report finds sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers still a battle to be won, but several trade agreements are leading the way
Report finds sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers still a battle to be won, but several trade agreements are leading the way

In addition, USTR says the U.S. has made progress over the past year with Pacific Rim trading partners through the inclusion of a TBT chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will, when completed, commit parties to strong annexes aimed at preventing standards-related barriers to trade.

Meat trade key benefactor

In working with importing countries on technical barriers to trade, USTR resolved concerns with Brazil about certification requirements that would have closed the Brazilian market to U.S. meat exports. USTR developed a compromise that allows U.S. veterinary authorities to certify meat exported to Brazil meets the country's expectations.

USTR says this cooperation prevented a trade disruption worth $147 million.

Costa Rica and El Salvador also cooperated with the U.S. to remove a trade barrier that required U.S. products to carry a certificate of sale certifying the product was eligible for sale. USTR estimates waiving this requirement prevented the blockage of $4.6 million in U.S. meat products. The countries now accept an alternative certification issued by the USDA.

USTR also detailed successes in mitigating unwarranted SPS barriers that block American agricultural exports, or sanitary and phytosanitary trade barriers.

"These barriers not only harm U.S. farmers and ranchers … but they also deprive consumers access to safe and high-quality U.S. goods," Marantis noted Monday.

This year, U.S. negotiators successfully removed specific SPS barriers in El Salvador, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan to exports of U.S. beef; opened the European Union market to exports of beef treated with lactic acid to reduce pathogens; resolved barriers to U.S. exports of paddy rice and poultry products to Colombia; improved market access for U.S. cherries entering Korea; and gained access into China for certain pears grown in the United States.

Click here to read the reports.