A coalition of food and agricultural organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council expressed support in a recent letter sent to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the European Union (EU).

Such an FTA is a likely option to be considered by a joint international working group on jobs and growth chaired by USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

“Carried out properly,” the coalition wrote in its letter to Kirk, “such an agreement would indeed generate economic growth and create many thousands of new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Of course, this would require that the EU be prepared to negotiate and implement the type of high-standard, 21st-century agreement that is central to the [Obama] administration’s trade policy efforts,” wrote the coalition. “Free trade deals negotiated by the EU with other countries certainly do not come close to meeting those standards.”

It was also pointed out in the letter that EU regulatory measures often conflict with the interests of the United States and with World Trade Organization rules, including regulations on “genetically modified” crop approval and labels, which restrict U.S. corn, soy and refined corn product exports and restrictions on production methods in poultry – antimicrobial use – and pork – ractopamine.

Disregarding WTO rules, the EU has frequently attempted to circumvent such international regulations by using its 27 votes in international standard-setting bodies such as the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius to “legitimize” non-science-based measures, the coalition pointed out.

Nearly 50 organizations signed the letter to Kirk.