US farmers seek better access to EU markets

US farmers seek better access to EU markets
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US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has urged the EU to grant better market access to American farmers.

Vilsack was in Brussels as part of a push by Washington to scrap existing trade barriers in the farming sector.

It comes against the backdrop of the ongoing negotiations for a transatlantic free trade deal, which kicked off in July last year.

But differences remain between the EU and US on issues such as genetically-modified crops and chemically-treated meats.

Vilsack told euronews that “the way to deal with this is not necessarily to draw a line in the sand and to say : this is in and this is out.”

“It’s basically to say, we trust our consumers to make the right choices. Give them options. Give them choices, they’ll make the right choice. The market usually makes the right choice,” said the US Agriculture Secretary.

The EU allows 50 of some 450 commercial GM strains to be imported into the bloc, but retailers are reluctant to stock such products due to customer resistance and health concerns.

It takes around four years for GM products to be approved in the EU; it takes 18 months in the US.

The free trade talks are expected to be completed next year. The European Parliament and the US Congress will both then need to approve the deal.