MACON, Ga. — On June 22, Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai requesting assistance with European Union (EU) non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. peanut exports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades U.S. peanuts for quality and safety, including testing protocols for aflatoxin. However, the EU has placed additional aflatoxin requirements on U.S. peanut imports that the United States Peanut Federation (USPF) says are excessive.
According to the USPF, these additional requirements have become non-tariff trade barriers for the U.S. peanut industry. In 2020, U.S. growers exported 668,000 metric tons of peanuts. The EU’s stringent tests have cost U.S. growers $170 million in recent years, and USPF reports that the losses in the first quarter of 2021 total an additional $130 million in anticipated lost sales.
Senators urged the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA to work together.
“As U.S. Senators who proudly represent peanut farmers in our states, we strongly support joint efforts by USDA and USTR to engage with your EU counterparts with the goal of reducing existing non-tariff trade barriers on peanut exports,” the senators wrote.
The letter noted that effectively negotiating a solution to this longstanding problem will ultimately allow increased market access for U.S. peanuts. (Click here to view full Senate letter.)
“The EU is critical to the future of the U.S. peanut industry,” USPF Chairman Karl Zimmer. “Despite years of trying to resolve this non-tariff barrier for U.S. peanut exports, the industry has been unable to do so, and U.S. peanut sales to the EU have plummeted. We greatly appreciate the work of these senators in trying to resolve this critical issue for peanut state economies.”
–Georgia Farm Bureau