The US cannot come to an agreement on trade with the EU without agriculture being considered. These comments were made by Ted McKinney, undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs for the US government.
Europe is one of the most important trading partners for the US, and the EU has made the first move by offering the option of removing import duties on industrial products to start negotiations. But the US is not willing to move ahead until market access for agricultural products is tabled for discussion.
McKinney also mentioned that the EU and the US have been working closely with each other on modernizing and reforming the WTO. The US’s move to impose tariffs on China instead of approaching the WTO over the issue on forced technology transfers is a bone of contention for the EU.
In an encouraging move, some European countries have started expressing interest in gene-editing, a technology that can vastly improve crop yields. EU’s Court of Justice had previously ruled that such techniques are subject to the same regulations as genetically modified crops, so the use of this technology could only be restricted to research purposes and not used for commercial purposes within the EU.