Grassley works to lower trade barriers for U.S. pork, beef and poultry exports to Russia PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 20 July 2012 13:35
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today won Finance Committee approval of his legislation to require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to continue negotiating with Russian officials for a bilateral Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) equivalence agreement even though Russia already has gained accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Grassley said the Obama administration should have been pushing for greater reductions to non-tariff trade barriers on agricultural products, including reaching a separate, bilateral agreement on SPS standards, when negotiating the Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) accession package.

“The administration missed an important opportunity during accession discussions to demand a separate SPS equivalence agreement,” he said.  “I appreciate that Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch supported my effort to include my sanitary and phytosanitary provisions in the bill that the committee approved today.  The lesson of the U.S. experience with China on these issues is that you cannot assume anything, and an aggressive approach is needed for science-based standards.”

In a June letter to President Obama, Grassley and 33 other senators said, “If we are not able to adequately address the SPS issues, it will undermine the commitments obtained [from Russia] on tariffs and quotas.”

Last year, U.S. beef, pork and poultry exports collectively ranked second only to aircraft engines in total U.S. export value to Russia.

In addition to requiring a continued effort by USTR to secure a bilateral agreement on SPS standards, the Finance Committee-approved PNTR bill also would require USTR to annually report to Congress on Russia’s implementation of the SPS requirements that are set forth in the WTO accession agreement with regard to U.S. agricultural products.

During the Finance Committee meeting today, Grassley said, “American pork producers in particular have had to deal with a number of unjustifiable standards imposed by Russia in recent years.”  The Iowa senator said he will be looking for a detailed report from negotiators from the U.S. Trade Representative about Russia’s standards for trichinae, tetracycline and salmonella, among other issues, when Russia’s implementation of the WTO SPS agreement is assessed.

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