Trade partnership would address sugar over U.S., EU growers’ objections
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho --The TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is likely to include sugar, a U.S. trade official said here last week, while representatives of both the U.S. and the European sugar growers said neither industry wants it ...
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -The TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is likely to include sugar, a U.S. trade official said here last week, while representatives of both the U.S. and the European sugar growers said neither industry wants it included and a U.S. dairy representative raised concerns about the negotiations.
T-TIP is supposed to put every farm product on the table and “can address sugar,” Darci Vetter, the U.S. chief agriculture trade negotiator, said in a speech to the International Sweetener Symposium, a gathering of cane and beet growers.
But Vetter acknowledged that T-TIP is sill in the negotiating phase and has become more complicated due to the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union.
“Neither the EU nor the U.S. industry wants sugar in the T-TIP,” said Don Phillips, the trade adviser to the American Sugar Alliance.
“America’s sugar market is already oversupplied with unneeded imports and we do not export sugar,” Phillips said. “We’ve advised our trade negotiators not to undertake new sugar market access commitments in the T-TIP deal that is negotiated.”
Marie Christine Ribera, the director general for the Brussels-based European Association of Sugar Producers, added, “Access to the saturated U.S. sugar market is of little value to European exporters. And no concessions on sugar and high sugar-containing products should be offered to the U.S. because the EU market is already sufficiently supplied.”
“T-TIP must not be a backdoor for dumped and subsidized Mexican sugar to enter the EU,” she added.
Vetter also noted there are difficult negotiations over geographic indicators, which Europeans want included so that products with certain names, particularly wine, meat and cheese, could only be labeled with a description derived from the name of a place if the products originate in that place.
Vetter noted that at the present time U.S. producers cannot even exhibit cheeses in Europe that have names for which the Europeans claim GI protection.
Jaime Castaneda, a senior vice president of the National Milk Producers Federation, said the dairy industry consists of more than “fancy cheeses,” but that U.S. producers are prevented from selling food ingredients to the European Union.
But with high tariffs, other barriers and the European dairy industry insisting on expanding GI protection, “Unless there is a significant, significant change I don’t see our industry supporting” T-TIP, Castaneda said.