WASHINGTON — The United States Peanut Federation (USPF), comprised of peanut growers, shellers, and buying points, applauded the efforts of nineteen U.S. Senators requesting assistance from the Administration on European Union (EU) non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. peanut exports. U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) led the Senate effort on the letter.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades U.S. peanuts for quality and safety including testing protocols for aflatoxin. However, in addition to the USDA’s safety measures, the EU has placed further excessive aflatoxin requirements on U.S. peanut imports. 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 stating, “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 exiting non-tariff trade barriers on peanut exports.” The letter went on to state 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.)
Karl Zimmer, Chairman of the USPF said, “The EU is critical to the future of the U.S. peanut industry. 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.”
The Senate letter was sent to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai on June 22.
–United States Peanut Federation