A coalition of food and agricultural organizations are urging the administration to press the European Union (EU) to negotiate a “comprehensive free trade agreement, including addressing sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) barriers." In a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative, the coalition expressed concern with a resolution approved last month by the European Parliament that in negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States, the EU should maintain the “precautionary principle” for SPS issues.
Precautionary measures are implemented based on the mere identification of potential risk or worse on public perception and political considerations rather than on science-based risk assessments. The World Trade Organization requires member countries’ SPS measures to be based on scientific risk assessments. The coalition said, “Precaution in the EU has become a pretext for import protectionism under the pretense of consumer safety. Such non-science-based measures have become the most challenging barrier to U.S. food and agricultural exports to the EU.”
Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute, American Sheep Industry Association, American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Renderers Association and North American Meat Association.