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Senators request assistance on EU trade barriers against U.S. peanuts

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EU is critical to the future of the U.S. peanut industry. Despite years of trying to resolve non-tariff barriers for U.S. peanut exports, the industry has been unable to do so.

Nineteen U.S. Senators asked the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA to help resolve European Union non-tariff trade barriers against U.S. peanut exports.

U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) led the Senate effort in a June 22 letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai.

“As U.S. Senators who proudly represent peanut farmers in our states, we strongly support joint efforts by USDA and USTR to engage with your EU counterparts with the goal of reducing exiting non-tariff trade barriers on peanut exports," the senate letter says.

According to a June 23 statement from the United States Peanut Federation, USDA grades U.S. peanuts for quality and safety including testing protocols for aflatoxin. In addition to the USDA’s safety measures, the EU has placed further excessive aflatoxin requirements on U.S. peanut imports.

These additional requirements have become non-tariff trade barriers for the U.S. peanut industry. In 2020, U.S. growers exported 668,000 metric tons of peanuts. The EU’s stringent tests have cost U.S. growers $170 million in recent years, and USPF reports that the losses in the first quarter of 2021 total an additional $130 million in anticipated lost sales, the statement says.

“The EU is critical to the future of the U.S. peanut industry. Despite years of trying to resolve this non-tariff barrier for U.S. peanut exports, the industry has been unable to do so, and U.S. peanut sales to the EU have plummeted. We greatly appreciate the work of these senators in trying to resolve this critical issue for peanut state economies," said Karl Zimmer, USPF chairman in the June 23 statement.

The USPF is comprised of founding members the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, the American Peanut Shellers Association, and the National Peanut Buying Points Association, and other peanut industry groups.

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