USA Rice Makes Case at T-TIP Negotiations

May 02, 2016
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Last week, U.S. and E.U. negotiators met in New York City for the latest round of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Stakeholders were invited to give presentations attended by negotiators on both sides, and USA Rice was there to make the case for eliminating tariffs on U.S. rice going into the EU.

USA Rice International Policy Manager Kristen Dayton gave a presentation highlighting the U.S. rice industry’s need for more access to EU markets.  “The EU imports many types of rice grown in the U.S., but employs a complex tariff regime that hurts our export interests,” Dayton said.  “Tariff eliminations on all U.S. exports to the EU are a key objective for U.S. negotiators.”

The EU negotiators have other objectives, such as preserving geographical indicators (GIs) for their Member States’ agricultural products.  GIs restrict what names can be used to refer to goods based on where they are produced.

USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley and Dayton also met with U.S. negotiators to discuss the state of talks between the two sides prior to the stakeholder presentations.

At the same time U.S. and EU negotiators were meeting in New York, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 25 other members of the Senate Agriculture and Finance committees sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman calling for an end to all agriculture tariffs, a rejection of GI restrictions, and support for biotechnology products.  The letter pointed out U.S. agricultural exports face a $12 billion trade deficit with the EU.

The next round of T-TIP negotiations is tentatively scheduled for July at a European location.