Ag Trade Data Finds Advances in Eliminating SPS Barriers on Food

Ag Trade Data Finds Advances in Eliminating SPS Barriers on Food

USTR report on sanitary and phytosanitary measures finds expanded access to beef, pork and produce

More ag exports in 2013 were no longer subject to sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, according to the U.S. Trade Representative's fifth-annual report on SPS measures, released Monday.

The report, an annual look at the Obama Administration's progress on eliminating sanitary (human and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) trade barriers found that overall, barrier elimination efforts helped the U.S. to export a record $148 billion in food and agricultural products in 2013.

USTR report on sanitary and phytosanitary measures finds expanded access to beef, pork and produce

The barriers, USTR says, impede U.S. food and agricultural exports in turn harming U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, workers, and their families. They are sometimes implemented in other countries to protect their products from foreign competition, USTR says.

Exports of agricultural products also supported more than 929,000 U.S. jobs, USTR says.

"Over the last five years, we have expanded and intensified trade enforcement efforts, making clear that the Obama Administration is prepared and willing to go to the mat for American workers and businesses," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement.

Expanded access for beef
After the United States demonstrated the safety of U.S. beef, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama opened their markets to a wider variety of U.S. beef and beef products. This allowed increased exports and streamlined trade, reducing costs for U.S. exporters, USTR says.

Previously, Indonesia only accepted boneless U.S. beef originating from cattle less than 30 months of age, while the Dominican Republic previously allowed U.S. beef and beef products, both boneless and bone-in, only from animals less than 30 months of age.

Related: A New Year Prediction: Growth in Ag Exports in 2014 Will Slow Down

Additionally, Mexico has agreed to allow imports of all U.S. beef and beef products recognized under international standards as being safe for human or animal consumption.  Previously, Mexico only allowed the importation of U.S. beef derived from animals less than 30 months of age.

The Administration is also working with the European Union to obtain approval for U.S. beef treated with lactic acid.  The February 2013 approval of this pathogen reduction treatment made it substantially easier for many U.S. producers to produce beef for sale into the European Union market.

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A larger number of U.S. companies are exporting beef to the European Union as a result of the approval, USTR suggests. This helped U.S. beef exports to the European Union reach a record $252 million in 2013.

Overall, total U.S. beef exports world-wide grew 12% in 2013 to reach over $6 billion.

Increased market opportunities for pork and swine
In February 2013, the European Union lifted its ban on the importation of live pigs from the United States.  Since the ban was lifted, the United States has exported high value live breeding pigs to the European Union.

Additionally, U.S. fresh and chilled pork products can now be sold in the Colombian market due to a U.S. government and industry collaboration to document the safety of U.S. pork from trichinosis and the strength of U.S. regulatory oversight over pork production.

After extensive U.S. engagement to demonstrate the effectiveness of the U.S. food safety system in reducing health risks from pathogens and other contaminants, Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain have agreed to reopen their markets to pork imports from the United States.

In 2013, the United States exported over $6 billion in pork and pork products worldwide.

Fruit and horticulture
An agreement was reached with Australia to allow the exportation of peaches and nectarines from California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

In addition, following extensive U.S. engagement in 2013, the state of Western Australia lifted its unwarranted ban on U.S. origin grapes.  Exports of U.S. peaches, nectarines and grapes to Australia reached $54 million in 2013.

A Japanese concern of pest risk with U.S. cherries was also resolved, leading to an opening of the Japanese market to U.S. cherries.

Working with the U.S. pear industry to enable China to open its market for a certain type of U.S. pear, U.S. businesses exported $2.7 million of pears to the Chinese market in 2013, up from $44,000 in 2012.

Read country-by-country breakdowns of SPS issues in the latest Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Also review the 2014 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.

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