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US to push back on SPS farm trade barriers -Kirk
Reuters | Thu Mar 12, 2009
U.S. to push back on SPS farm trade barriers -Kirk
WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) — The United States will make it a priority to get rid of barriers to U.S. farm exports based on unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary concerns about human, animal and plant health, the designee for U.S. Trade Representative said on Thursday.
The barriers have blocked U.S. meat, corn, rice, and other products from a variety of European and Asian markets.
Under the Obama administration, the United States will "aggressively utilize ... all available tools in the WTO and other mechanisms" to fight SPS barriers, Ron Kirk said in written responses to the Senate Finance Committee.
One of the oldest SPS irritants has been a European ban on U.S. beef based on concerns about growth hormones, dating back to the early 1980s.
The United States won a case at the World Trade Organization against the EU ban, and has had retaliatory sanctions against certain EU goods for more than a decade.
Asked whether he would keep the retaliatory list, most recently updated in January by the outgoing Bush administration, Kirk said USTR officials were trying to resolve the long-standing issue.
"USTR officials are currently engaged in discussions with the EU that could result in at least an interim solution to the dispute," he said.
The USTR will also work to normalize beef trade with Korea, Japan, China and other nations still not accepting all U.S. beef following the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States in 2003, Kirk said.
Under Kirk’s watch, the USTR’s office would use every tool "from diplomacy to the dispute resolution process" to get the EU to accept shipments of genetically modified corn, he said.
"We are developing additional expertise and directing resources at addressing non-tariff barriers to trade like this one," Kirk said, referring to the EU ban on GMO crops.
He also said the USTR would look at bans on U.S. pork because of concerns about ractopamine, a growth promotant, as well as a recent move by Russia to ban pork from some of the largest U.S. processing plants.
Kirk said the United States would look for more market access for farm and other goods as it examines the Doha round of WTO negotiations.
The committee voted on Thursday to back Kirk’s nomination, which will now be considered by the full Senate. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by David Gregorio)
Upcoming days of action
Oct to Nov: autumn of action against CETA in Europe incl. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Netherland, Slovenia, Spain... - details
21 Oct: mobilisation against CETA in Montreal - details
27-28 Oct: mobilisation in Brussels against CETA - contact
03-05 Nov: mobilisation in Brussels against TTIP - contact
4 Nov: Continental day for democracy and against FTAs & neoliberalism in Latin America - contact
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News from the movements
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20-Oct-2016 Bangkok PostAccess to affordable medicine and farmers’ control over seeds could be undermined by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership being negotiated between Asean member countries and six other trade partners, says FTA Watch in Thailand
20-Oct-2016 CEOA close look at the controversial EU-Canada trade deal shows that concerns blocking its ratification are well-founded.
19-Oct-2016 Telesur“We don’t want what happened to us to happen to the people in Dakota,” Piaguaje told teleSUR.
18-Oct-2016 Peoples WorldIn protests billed as “anti-colonial” demonstrations, Peruvians hit the streets on 12 October against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement
17-Oct-2016 No al TTIPEn el marco de una semana repleta de protestas para detener la aprobación del tratado de libre comercio entre la Unión Europea y Estados Unidos (TTIP) y la ratificación del CETA (el acuerdo de la Unión Europea con Canadá), la plataforma estatal ‘No al TTIP’ ha movilizado este sábado a miles de personas a lo largo de la geografía española y muy especialmente en la capital de España.
17-Oct-2016 Stop TTIPOver 100 law professors from across Europe have come together to send a clear message to EU decision makers demanding the investor protection mechanisms be excluded from TTIP and CETA.
17-Oct-2016 The Jakarta PostAn activist group is calling on the government to not ratify the ASEAN Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) clause on International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) 1991, saying that it will increase global corporations’ monopolistic control over small farmers.
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