Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,
We write today to urge you to insist on the inclusion of agricultural products in upcoming trade negotiations with the European Union (EU). As you know, agriculture is the source of a great number of trade barriers and irritants in the U.S.-EU trading relationship. Thus, an agreement with the EU that does not address trade in agriculture would be, in our eyes, unacceptable.
The United States and EU share one of the largest trading relationships in the world, but there are many ways in which the two sides can further grow and improve this relationship. Nowhere is this more evident than in trade in agricultural products. Exports from hardworking American farmers and ranchers across the country face barriers to the EU market, including high tariffs, unscientific sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and protectionist policies on geographical indications that hurt American exports not only to the EU but also to countries all over the world.
We were encouraged to see that the negotiating objectives for the EU that your office released in January included specific objectives on agricultural goods. At the same time, we were deeply disappointed that the European Commission's draft negotiating mandates specifically excluded agricultural products and that Commission officials continue to state publicly that they will not discuss agriculture in the negotiations.
We want to voice our strong support for the inclusion of agriculture in the upcoming discussions and to reiterate that an agreement that fails to include agricultural products would be deficient, significantly jeopardizing Congressional support.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.