Transatlantic trade deal must uphold EU farming standards, De Castro tells US Agriculture Secretary
Talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Partnership (TTIP) agreement are a great opportunity for both the EU and the US, but the European Parliament must be properly involved in them, to ensure that the final deal upholds the EU farming and food standards, protects EU consumers and ensures a level playing field for European farmers, Parliament's Agriculture Committee Chair Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT) said at a meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Tuesday.
"The aim of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to increase trade between the European Union and the United States and thus stimulate growth and increase employment on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. This is now more important than ever as we try to tackle the consequences of the global economic crisis including high unemployment especially among young people", Mr. De Castro said.
"The TTIP is a great opportunity for both the European Union and the United States. During the negotiations, we need to overcome our differences and find a common vision that would benefit farmers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic", he continued.
"Nevertheless, we must make sure that the final TTIP deal is well balanced. It must lift barriers and bring new opportunities to EU producers to export their products across the ocean but at the same time ensure the high EU standards that our farmers must meet and our consumers currently enjoy. Neither must it compromise our views on issues such as use of hormones, cloning and GMOs", he added.
"We are open to negotiations but to ensure a good result for our farmers and consumers, the European Parliament, whose blessing the final deal will need, must be properly involved in the process", he concluded.
The meeting, which took place in the European Parliament, was also attended by MEPs Iratxe García Pérez (S&D, ES) and Michel Dantin (EPP, FR).
In a joint effort to revive the economy on both sides of the Atlantic, EU and US leaders announced at the start of 2013 that they would seek to achieve a comprehensive economic deal to exploit the full potential of economic cooperation. The 2013 impact assessments suggest that free trade with the US could boost EU GDP by 0.5%, which would translate into extra €545 a year for every family of four in the EU.
The talks on the TTIP began in July 2013 and the Commission hopes to conclude them within a couple of years. To enter into force, the deal will have to win support of the European Parliament.
In 2013 the EU’s agricultural exports to the US were worth €15.40 billion and its imports from the US €9.75 billion. The EU thus had a positive farm trade balance with the US of €5.65 billion.