Seeking new and improved market access for U.S. pork products, the National Pork Producers Council led a delegation of pork industry representatives to Geneva, Switzerland for meetings with U.S. trade negotiators, World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy and other trade officials from a number of WTO nations.
NPPC’s request for expanded market access came at a critical juncture in global trade talks. The so-called Doha Round negotiations among the WTO member countries have been off and on since the trade talks were launched in 2001. Earlier this year, negotiations stalled in Potsdam, Germany, but since have gotten back on track.
For years now, the NPPC has sought significant new market access to the European Union and Japan before pork producer support is given to the Doha Round. The NPPC delegation reiterated that refrain during its trip to WTO headquarters in Geneva.
“EU trade officials understand that expanded market access for pork in the EU is key to concluding a deal with the United States,” said NPPC President Jill Appell, a pork producer from Altona, Ill., delegation leader. “While EU pork consumption totals more than 20 million metric tons annually, U.S. pork exports to the EU currently are only about 20,000 metric tons a year.”
The NPPC delegation made it clear to EU officials that the web of tariff and non-tariff barriers that currently restrict U.S. pork exports must be lowered. It made a similar appeal to trade officials from Japan. “While Japan is the top export market for U.S. pork,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks, “we are only scratching the surface in that country.”