Sens. Reverend Warnock, Tuberville led colleagues in a bipartisan push to reduce restrictive trade barriers and expand export market access for domestic peanut farmers and processors in a letter to USDA and USTR
Removal of trade barriers would give a financial boost to the domestic peanut sector, increase international market access, and create job opportunities across the country
In a previous Georgia agriculture tour, Senator Warnock heard from peanut farmers and processors on their frustrations with nontariff trade barriers and hampered export opportunities into the E.U., championed call to action–WATCH more from visit
Georgia is the leading producer of peanuts in the U.S., producing over half the total domestic peanut crop with a recent farmgate value exceeding $650 million
Lawmakers: “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 E.U. counterparts with the goal of reducing existing non-tariff trade barriers on peanut exports. Increased market access will ultimately benefit the peanut farmers in our states, and we stand ready to support your efforts on their behalf”
Read the letter here
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) led a bipartisan effort to address nontariff trade barriers from the European Union (E.U.) impacting the U.S. peanut sector and hampering access to the international market. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Senators Warnock, Tuberville and a bipartisan group of senators representing peanut producing states raised concerns about the ongoing burden that excessive aflatoxin testing requirements for exports into the European Union place upon hardworking American peanut farmers and processors.
As a Senator of Georgia, the leading producer of peanuts in the United States, Senator Warnock is championing the voices of Georgia’s peanut farmers in order to reduce restrictive trade barriers imposed by the European Union and to increase access into this high value market. In previous state travels, Senator Warnock heard directly from peanut producers and processors on how these barriers have negatively impacted their bottom line.
The bipartisan letter was signed by Senators Boozman (R-AR), Burr (R-NC), Cassidy (R-LA), Cotton (R-AR), Cornyn (R-TX), Cruz (R-TX), Graham (R-SC), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kaine (D-VA), Ossoff (D-GA), Rubio (R-FL), R. Scott (R-FL), T. Scott (R-SC) , Shelby (R-AL), Tillis (R-NC), ,Warner (D-VA), and Wicker (R-MS).
READ THE FULL LETTER HERE
Read the letter text below:
June 22, 2021
The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250
The Honorable Katherine Tai
U.S. Trade Representative
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508
Dear Secretary Vilsack and Ambassador Tai,
We write to bring your attention to ongoing nontariff trade barriers from the European Union (E.U.) affecting the domestic peanut sector. We encourage the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to prioritize interagency collaboration and industry engagement in order to negotiate an effective solution with your E.U. counterparts that will ultimately allow increased market access for U.S. peanuts.
According to data published by USDA, domestic peanut farmers produced over 1.6 million acres of peanuts in 2020 with a farm gate value over $1.2 billion. Due to their susceptibility to naturally-occurring aflatoxin, domestic peanut growers are subject to USDA testing to ensure all peanuts harvested for human consumption are safe to enter the food supply. U.S. growers have a long history of partnering with USDA to ensure their harvest is safe, with USDA also working on research initiatives to address the underlying causes of aflatoxin contamination and to improve post-harvest handling. Collectively, these efforts demonstrate that U.S. farmers and government officials are actively working to ensure that peanuts produced domestically are safe.
In 2020, an estimated 668,000 metric tons of U.S. produced peanuts were exported to international markets. Unfortunately, stringent E.U. testing requirements for aflatoxin are preventing increased U.S. exports into this high-value market. In recent years, the U.S. industry estimates they have lost approximately $170 million in sales into the E.U. due to difficulties presented by these burdensome testing requirements. A review of data from the first quarter 2021 indicates an additional $130 million in anticipated lost sales. Without efforts to negotiate a workable solution that will increase opportunities for domestic peanut operations, our farmers and businesses will continue to struggle with prohibitive requirements set by international partners.
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 E.U. counterparts with the goal of reducing existing nontariff trade barriers on peanut exports. Increased market access will ultimately benefit the peanut farmers in our states, and we stand ready to support your efforts on their behalf. Thank you for consideration of this request.