The American Meat Institute joined more than 45 agricultural and food organizations and companies in voicing support for the Agriculture Trade Facilitation Act, or H.R. 2707, which intends to improve the outcome of trade negotiations for American farmers by establishing the overall and principal negotiating objectives of the United States.
“No one will argue that Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures are not an important part of trade, designed to protect human, animal and plant life or health. However, these measures need to be based on science, applied only to the extent necessary, be implemented in a fully transparent and consistent manner and should not be arbitrarily used to discriminate and unjustifiably block market access,” said the organizations in a letter sent to the bill’s original sponsor, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and to U.S. trade and foreign agriculture officials. “In trade negotiations we can reduce tariffs, but we don’t truly have market access if we find our products blocked due to SPS measures being used as a tool to hinder trade.”
The bill would ensure that Sanitary and Phytosanitary rules in trade agreements are science-based, effective and enforceable. “Foreign exports are essential to the health of rural America which is why free trade agreements are so important,” said Nunes when the bill was introduced. “We need to make certain that non-tariff barriers, such as scientifically dubious sanitary and phytosanitary standards, don’t block wholesome American products from competing in the global marketplace.”
“(H.R. 2707) establishes the principles necessary to reduce the negative effects on trade while maintaining the rights of countries, including the United States, to protect health and safety,” the letter concluded.