US senators worried US-EU trade talks may not address agriculture
"Our trade negotiators must demand of EU officials that barriers to US agricultural products be addressed in any potential trade agreement," the senators said in a letter urging Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat, to schedule a hearing with US trade officials.
The United States and the 27 nations of the EU have been discussing for more than a year the possibility of launching free trade talks and are widely expected in coming weeks or months to make a decision to take that step.
The senators - Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and John Thune of South Dakota - said they wanted a hearing because Congress has not passed legislation, known as Trade Promotion Authority, giving the administration specific guidelines for any talks with the EU.
"It is important we know where the discussions with the EU stand, and what exactly has been discussed regarding barriers to agricultural products, so we can determine for ourselves whether the administration is adequately addressing this key trade priority," the senators said.
The United States has been frustrated for years by what it considers the EU's "non-scientific" approach to food safety.
The EU has blocked imports of US genetically modified corn and soybeans, poultry treated with chlorine dioxide and beef with lactic acid
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