New COPA President Martin Merrild, pictured, underlined the need to step up talks to get a free trade deal between the EU and US (TTIP) in his recent visit to the USA, stressing that benefits are to be had on both sides of the Atlantic.
But he said Washington’s move to slap high duties on EU butter and cream exports to the USA needs to be rethought.
Speaking to US politicians and his counterparts in Washington, Mr Merrild said: “As COPA President, I will be pressing for a strong export strategy aimed at opening new export markets and I will continue Copa’s pro-active line in the free trade talks between the EU and the USA.
“Negotiations must be stepped up, especially after the Trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim countries reached an agreement on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“But I question America’s commitment to free trade when it hits the EU dairy industry with increased duties on EU butter and cream exports. I do not see the justification in this when we export only modest amounts to the USA, like 8000 tonnes of butter for example. On top of this, we still cannot export any substantial volumes of beef to the USA even though the US authorities agreed last year to allow the export of European beef to the US market.
“I, nevertheless, see many opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic of a free trade deal between the EU and USA. The USA is our number one trading partner and I believe we both have much to gain from a potential agreement. If the talks are to be successful, non-tariff barriers and unnecessary obstacles to trade must however be overcome as we believe that three quarters of the gains from a trade deal would come from lifting these barriers.”