(Brussels, 18 June 2013) Following the announcement that the United States and the European Union are to launch formal negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), FoodDrinkEurope, as the trade body representing Europe’s food and drink manufacturers, looks forward to actively engaging with all interested parties to ensure the delivery of a trade deal which will create new growth opportunities for Europe’s food and drink industry.
The United States is the first export destination for Europe’s food and drink products, amounting to € 13.6 billion in 2012. In addition, the US is the third most important source of food imports to the EU (after Brazil and Argentina). Almost 60% of EU exports correspond to trade in drinks, followed by dairy, vegetable oils and chocolate.
For Europe’s food and drink industry however, regulatory barriers remain the biggest obstacle to a mutually beneficial trade agreement. It is particularly important that no new regulatory barriers are introduced through the implementation of the Food Safety Modernisation Act recently signed into law in the United States. The Act has the potential to both facilitate trade but also to produce a significant number of new barriers to trade (in particular, the Foreign Producer Verification Programme and associated inspection fees) and may impact upon exports by European food and drink SMEs.
Reacting to the announcement, FoodDrinkEurope President, Jesús Serafín Pérez, said:
“Europe’s food and drink industry welcomes the formal launch of trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States. We particularly welcome President Barroso’s announcement that the parties will look at ways to ‘reduce red tape and avoid divergent regulations for the future’. As Europe’s largest manufacturing industry, and the world’s largest exporter and importer of food and drink products, we look forward to playing an active role and providing input to the negotiations on this Agreement, which has the potential to drive growth and facilitate access to a major export market, thereby generating new opportunities for Europe’s food and drink manufacturers”.