Ag leaders hope more doors open for EU trade

Tariffs on some U.S. ag commodities have been lifted after the U.S. and European Union settled a steel and aluminum dispute and ag leaders say they are hopeful for a restored partnership.

National Corn Growers Association president Chris Edgington, an Iowa farmer, tells Brownfield the EU’s 25 percent tariff on U.S. corn serves as an example of how agriculture seems to be the first industry to take a hit in trade disputes.

“It was all about steel and aluminum and agriculture got drug into it,” he says.  “It’s a good deal that they’ve come to a resolution.”

Dairy policy specialist Jamie Castaneda with the U.S. Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation tells Brownfield while the agreement is good for some ag commodities, it won’t cause much of a change for U.S. dairy exports.

“While we import over a billion dollars on dairy products from Europe, Europe is importing merely $100 million,” he says.

Castaneda says everchanging export certificates into Europe are extremely prohibitive for the dairy industry and he’d like to see fairer access between trade partners.

“With the European Union, it is clear that when it comes to agriculture it is a one-way trade and what we are this administration, and previous administrations, is that we need to somewhat stop that,” he explains.

U.S. ag exports to the European Union dropped 13 percent in 2019 following retaliatory tariffs put in place the year before and an additional four percent in 2020.

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