U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday (Dec. 1) indicated the U.S. is staking out a defensive position when it comes to dairy market access in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations in light of what he said are the hardships being experienced by the U.S. industry due in part to record imports.
Inside U.S. Trade |December 6, 2015
"The dairy issue is a complicated issue because we also have a struggling dairy industry right now in the U.S. And we have seen a rather dramatic increase in imports of certain dairy products that have put a great deal of strain on our dairy producers," Vilsack told a press conference in Brussels, where he was attending the EU Agricultural Outlook Conference. He was responding to a question about the prospects for the EU gaining additional access to the U.S. dairy market under TTIP.
"And so we have to be careful and calibrate all of this to make sure that we don't necessarily disadvantage one group by giving an advantage to another group. And that's part of the challenge, I think, in these trade discussions is how you figure out that sweet spot -- that appropriate balance," he said.
Vilsack acknowledged that European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan during their meeting in Brussels had raised the fact that the U.S. imposed a special safeguard on butter and cream on Oct. 5, after imports surged about 150 percent and exceeded a trigger level. The special safeguard is provided for under Article 5 of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture for items subject to tariff-rate quotas.
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