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FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Removes Barriers to Food and Agriculture Exports

In 2013, the Obama Administration opened markets worldwide by resolving unwarranted sanitary (human and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) barriers to the exportation of a wide range of food and agricultural products.  While each country should implement necessary measures to protect human, animal, and plant health, some countries impose arbitrary import restrictions to protect their products from foreign competition.  Expanding U.S. food and agricultural exports improves income for farmers and ranchers across rural America and supports jobs for workers in the food and agricultural sector.  Our efforts helped the United States to export a record $148 billion in food and agricultural products in 2013.  Exports of agricultural products supported over 929,000 U.S. jobs.

USTR’s fifth annual Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures identifies the Administration’s ongoing efforts to eliminate discriminatory or otherwise unwarranted measures that impede U.S. food and agricultural exports.  These unjustified barriers harm U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, workers, and their families and deprive consumers around the world of access to safe, high-quality American food and agricultural goods.

Examples of Obama Administration successes in removing unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to U.S. exports include:

Expanded Access for Beef and Beef Products

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.  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.  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.

Additionally, the Obama Administration worked intensively 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.  A larger number of U.S. companies are exporting beef to the European Union as a result of the approval.  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 percent in 2013 to reach over $6 billion.

Increased Market Opportunities for Swine and Pork Products

After the Obama Administration provided robust scientific justification on the safety of U.S. 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.

Increased Fruit Exports to Australia

The Obama Administration reached agreements with Australia that allow the exportation to Australia 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.

Bolstered Horticulture Exports to Asian Markets

We also worked cooperatively with Japanese authorities to resolve Japanese pest risk concerns with U.S. cherries, leading to an opening of the Japanese market to U.S. cherries.  Additionally, the Obama Administration worked together 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.