The United States and the European Union announced the formal launch of the U.S.-EU negotiations on a trade and investment agreement during a G-8 meeting this week in Northern Ireland. Formal negotiations on the Transatlantic and Trade Investment Partnership (T-TIP) will begin the week of July 8 in Washington, D.C. The negotiations strive for an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement.
According to the U.S. Grains Council, the agreement is an opportunity for U.S. agriculture to provide for improved market access and overcome significant barriers to trade, particularly sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions. In comments provided earlier this year to the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Grains Council noted the most significant barrier for U.S. market access for corn and corn co-products (distillers dried grains with solubles, corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal) is the EU asynchronous approval process for genetically modified (GM) events.
Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy and biotechnology, said T-TIP needs to ensure full and consistent implementation of existing European Union legislation governing approval of agricultural biotechnology products within the timeframes established by European laws and regulations.
"Respecting science and legislated timelines would dramatically reduce the threat of trade disruption and address the growing gap between the deregulation of new biotechnology products in the United States and the approval of those products in the EU," said Gaibler. "Similarly, the EU needs a streamlined approach to regulating stacked events where the individual event products have been previously undergone a risk assessment and been deregulated."
Equally important, Gaibler said there needs to be a comprehensive strategy for a low level presence policy for EU unauthorized GM products in feed, food, and seed.
"The policy should consider practical approaches to unauthorized products, discontinued events, off-license products and products not submitted for approval in the EU," he said.
"Finally, the negotiations should ensure that risk assessment of GM events remains science-based and that efforts be made to acknowledge mutual recognition of approvals with third countries."