US Trade Rep reports success in lowering trade barriers
Just in time for the second annual issue of the US Trade Representative’s reports on efforts to lower barriers to US exports, Chile agreed to end its ban on US beef and beef products, imposed in 2003 after a US cow tested positive for BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy – or mad cow disease). On March 17, the US Department of Agriculture posted the new requirements for beef exports to Chile, whose beef imports were valued at some $715 million in 2010.
Re-opening Chile to US beef is part of a larger Obama administration effort to reduce unreasonable sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards that effectively bar American exports – unreasonable in that they “are really disguised barriers to trade, not grounded in science, or that are otherwise unwarranted.” Maintaining export markets for US agriculture is an economic priority. Farm exports totaled $108.7 billion in FY2010 – and each $1 billion in ag exports is estimated to support 8,400 jobs on and off the farm.
Last year, the USTR began documenting SPS barriers and its efforts to bring them down. The current SPS report, which USTR Ron Kirk delivered to Congress March 30, also covers successful efforts to convince Colombia and Ecuador to lift bans on poultry, originally prompted by concerns about avian influenza. The report details SPS requirements deemed barriers in 48 countries or groups of countries, and addresses the cross-cutting issues of avian flu, mad cow disease, maximum residue limits (MRLs) on pesticides, ractopamine (a drug that promotes lean meat growth), and biotechnology (the subject of much domestic controversy as well – see A Time to Plant, a Time to Sue).
You can read the full SPS report here.
A companion piece to the SPS report is the USTR’s Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) report on product standards, testing requirements and other technical barriers that seem to have been designed to keep US products out of select markets.
You can read the TBT report here.
Date posted: April 4, 2011