WASHINGTON — The United States Peanut Federation (USPF) representative and peanut grower Karla Thompson recently attended a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai. Also attending was USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip. This roundtable was McKalip’s first engagement since being recently sworn in.
At the event, Georgia commodity leaders and exporters were given the opportunity to voice their concerns and priorities as they relate to global markets and agricultural trade.
Karla Thompson, Vice President at JET Farms and Integrity Farms, Inc. in Camilla, Georgia, represented the peanut industry at the roundtable to discuss important trade issues facing peanuts.
At the roundtable, Thompson engaged in a discussion with Ambassador Tai and Senator Ossoff regarding the trade issues for peanuts in the EU. Across the last few years, the U.S. Peanut Federation (USPF), in conjunction with other peanut industry stakeholders, have worked with peanut state senators and congressmen to establish communication with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on the EU issue.
Following the meeting, Thompson stated:
“The roundtable went very well. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with Ambassador Tai and Senator Ossoff regarding trade issues impacting the peanut industry. Ambassador Tai and Mr. McKalip both assured us that they would address this issue harming peanut exports to the EU. Senator Ossoff’s office has been very helpful in working towards a solution and committed to continue following up with the USTR office to ensure we get the answers we need. Ensuring that the marketplace is open for exports of U.S. peanuts is essential to the economic health of the peanut industry and the rural communities that rely on our industry.”
The European Union (EU) has long been an important market for exports of U.S. peanuts. Over the last ten years, it has been the industry’s largest export market, but has recently fallen to the fourth largest export market. Exports over the past four years have dropped significantly in large part due to the EU’s requirements and level of inspections.
The EU’s requirements are the strictest in the world. While nearly all shipments of U.S. peanuts to the EU meet or exceed EU requirements prior to export, EU inspections continue to find violations at the point of import. The U.S. peanut industry has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the past few years to turn this trend around.
USPF appreciates the opportunity to be represented at the recent roundtable and looks forward to continuing working towards a solution on this trade issue for peanuts and the European Union.
–U.S. Peanut Federation