Bilateral relations with the United States
The United States is the EU's top partner in agricultural trade. It is a major destination for the EU's high value products, such as wines and spirits, beer, cheeses or chocolate. The EU is an important market for the U.S. for major commodities, such as soybeans, wheat, as well as nuts.
Recognizing the need to boost growth, trade and jobs, the two partners have launched the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an agreement aimed at addressing trade barriers (such as tariffs, non-tariff issues and restrictions on investment) and at ensuring an increased regulatory coherence between the EU and the U.S.
Agriculture is one of the key areas under negotiations where the EU has a number of offensive priorities to pursue.
The EU is seeking an enhanced access to the U.S. market for products such as dairy, processed meat products, sugar confectionery, chocolate or olive oil.
Market access, however, is not only about tariffs as on average, U.S. tariffs are already low. Non-tariff barriers of a regulatory nature, also in the area of sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, may substantially hinder commercial exchange.
Of key importance for the EU is the protection of Geographical Indications e.g. Parmigiano Reggiano in the U.S., which would mean that only products originating in the place of origin and respecting appropriate technical specifications may be sold on the U.S. market using those EU names.
EU28 exports to the US (2013): €15.4 billion
Main exports: wines and spirits, beer, chocolate, cheese, olive oil, fruit and vegetable preparations
EU28 imports from the US (2013): €9.8 billion
Main imports: nuts (almonds walnuts, pistachios), soybeans, animal feed, wheat, wines and spirits
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Agreements with the U.S. currently in force
2009: Memorandum of Understanding regarding the importation of beef from animals not treated with certain growth-promoting hormones and increased duties applied by the USA to certain products of the European Union
1992: Agreement in the form of Exchange of Letters concerning the application of the Community directive third countries (Council Directive 72/462/EEC) and of the corresponding regulatory requirements of the United States of America with regard to the bovine and porcine fresh meat trade