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FACT SHEET: Opening Foreign Markets for U.S. Farmers and Ranchers: USTR Removes Major Barriers to American Agricultural Exports

Removing unwarranted trade barriers that impact United States food and agricultural exports is a chief priority of the Obama Administration’s efforts to enforce U.S. trade agreements.  With over one fifth of United States farm production tied to agricultural exports, opening foreign markets for American farmers and ranchers is a critical element to supporting farm income and jobs in Rural America.

Since 2009, the U.S. government has leveraged the WTO transparency processes to challenge many sanitary and phytosanitary measures or technical barriers to trade that threatened to reduce American exports of agricultural products to foreign markets.

In June 2015, the United States won a major victory at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in a dispute challenging India’s ban on products such as poultry meat, eggs, and live pigs, allegedly maintained to protect India against avian influenza.  The dispute resulted in numerous findings against India’s measures, including findings that India’s ban is not based on international standards or a risk assessment, that India discriminates against U.S. products in favor of Indian products, that India’s measures are more trade restrictive than necessary because measures conforming to international standards would meet India’s level of protection, and that India breached its WTO obligations with respect to regionalization. 

And throughout 2015, USTR, USDA and U.S. regulatory agencies also opened or expanded several key markets to safe and wholesome U.S. agricultural products.  Below are several key success stories:

Beef to Colombia: In November 2015, the Government of Colombia removed burdensome certification requirements for imported U.S. beef and beef products. Colombia’s agreement to do so is expected to facilitate increased exports of U.S. beef and beef products to this market.  Exports of these products to Colombia were valued at $10.4 million in 2015.

Beef to Peru: In March 2016, Peru removed burdensome certification requirements for U.S. beef and beef product exports, further opening one of the fastest growing markets in Latin America.  Peru ranked as the 18th largest export market for U.S. beef and beef products in 2015, with shipments totaling $25.4 million.

Beef to Singapore: In April 2015, the United States and Singapore agreed to terms and conditions to restore full market access for U.S. beef and beef products. The deal is expected to open new opportunities for U.S. beef in a growing market valued at $17 million a year in 2014.

Beef to South Africa: In January 2016, the United States and South Africa reached agreement on a USDA export certificate for the exportation of U.S. beef to South Africa, consistent with the U.S. negligible risk status for BSE.  Due to this agreement, the United States will be able to ship all beef and beef products from cattle of any age to South Africa. U.S. exports of beef could reach up to $17 million annually.

Cattle to Chile:  In August 2015, the United States and Chile reached agreement on conditions for the importation of U.S. live cattle into Chile.  This is expected to be a good market for U.S. breeding cattle.

Cattle to Peru: In July 2015, Peru and the United States finalized certification requirements permitting imports of U.S. live cattle.  USDA has reported strong demand in Peru for U.S. dairy cows to help meet Peru’s future milk production needs.

Cranberries to Europe:  Following requests of the U.S. government, in October 2015, the European Commission adopted a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for cholorothalonil, a pesticide commonly used on cranberries in the United States.  The MRL will allow U.S. cranberry exports to the EU to continue.  These exports were valued at $2.7 million in 2015.

Food Additive Approvals in Japan:   Japan has approved 42 food additives and has committed to considering approval of an additional four food additives.  The 42 approved additives are used in a wide range of processed products.

Gelatin and Processed Beef to Japan: In 2015, Japan re-opened its market to most U.S. exports of beef-origin collagen and gelatin, with two products still being reviewed.  The trade value of a full opening for U.S. exports of beef-origin gelatin and collagen is over $30 million annually.

Pet Food to Canada: In June 2015, Canada agreed to implement new import requirements for U.S. pet food to avoid disruption in U.S. exports.  In 2015, U.S. exports of pet food to Canada were valued at $602 million.

Pork to Peru: In April 2015, Peru agreed to revised sanitary import requirements that provide improved access for U.S. fresh and chilled pork.  Peru ranked as the 21st largest export market for U.S. pork and pork products in 2015, with shipments valued at nearly $10 million.   

Pork to South Africa: In January 2016, the United States and South Africa agreed to a USDA export certificate that permits the exportation of commercially significant frozen cuts of pork, including pork shoulder, to South Africa.  Exports of pork to South Africa could reach $40 million annually.

Postharvest Fumigant Registration in Japan: Japan will implement a streamlined approval process for fungicides that may be applied both pre-harvest and post-harvest, which Japan considers to be both pesticides and food additives, by utilizing a unified application and deliberation process for approval of pesticides and food additives.  The process will be implemented no later than the entry into force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Poultry to South Africa: In November 2015, the United States and South Africa agreed to an animal health protocol that allows for the export to South Africa of poultry from U.S. states not affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza. The agreement on the protocol was followed in January 2016 by agreement on a USDA export certificate for the exportation to South Africa of U.S. poultry and by agreement on specific procedures with respect to Salmonella testing to be applied to imports of U.S. poultry to South Africa.  Exports of U.S. poultry to South Africa could reach $100 million annually.

Tree Nuts to Europe:  In November 2015, the European Commission voted to adopt an extension of an expiring MRL for fosetyl-al.  The extension will allow U.S. tree nuts to continue to be exported to the EU.  In 2015, the United States exported approximately $3 billion of tree nuts to the European Union.