WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will be traveling through Europe next week in hopes of discussing the expansion of agricultural trade and the importance of agriculture’s role in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Vilsack will be traveling to Brussels, Luxembourg City, Paris and Dublin to speak with European agriculture ministers, agricultural stakeholders, and agriculture officials in the European Union (EU). Vilsack is hopeful the trip will lead to progress toward a viable TTIP agreement and the removal of several trade restrictions.
“The EU is the world’s largest importer of food and agricultural products,” said Vilsack. “But despite the continued growth of this market, U.S. market share is shrinking because U.S. producers and exporters continue to face numerous trade barriers. The negotiation of the TTIP offers a major opportunity to address these barriers and expand market access for U.S. farmers and ranchers.”
In Luxembourg City, Vilsack will address the agriculture ministers from the 28 EU member states and will emphasize to his European counterparts the importance of agriculture leaders’ involvement in TTIP negotiations.
In Brussels, Vilsack will meet with EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and EU Parliament Agriculture Committee Chairman Paolo de Castro. He will also meet with Brussels-based U.S. business interests at the American Chamber of Commerce.
While in Paris, Vilsack will address French food and agricultural stakeholders, emphasizing that U.S. and French farmers share more commonalities than differences. He will also meet with Bernard Vallat, director of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE), and Stéphane Le Foll, France’s minister of agriculture.
Finally, Vilsack will travel to Ireland, where he will meet with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and accompany Coveney on a tour of Irish beef and dairy farms.
Since 2009, nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth has been due to exports. Last fiscal year, U.S. agricultural exports alone reached a record $140.9 billion. U.S. agricultural exports have set a new record every year for the past five years, totaling $619 billion between 2009 and 2013. They are projected to reach another record of $149.5 billion in fiscal year 2014.
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