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Food and Agriculture Trade in the Asia Pacific – Facilitating Trade and Driving Growth

November 15, 2017

By: Melissa San Miguel- Senior Director, Global Strategies-Multilateral Affairs

Each November, the leaders of 21 of the world’s fastest-growing economies from both sides of the Pacific gather at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Annual Leaders Meeting to set the agenda for trade and growth in the region. Fair trade in the Asia-Pacific region is a key priority for our industry, where exports help drive growth and support our 2.1 million jobs here at home. That’s why we at GMA are delighted that President Trump has identified removing non-tariff barriers to food trade as a high priority for APEC going forward (White House fact sheet).

Over the last decade, GMA has been working with the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) to support development and implementation of science-based standards that facilitate consumers’ access to safe food. GMA has shared U.S. food and beverage manufacturers’ unique scientific and operational expertise about the production and delivery of safe food. We’ve highlighted the benefits of inclusive, transparent dialogue with regulators and championed good regulatory practice to ensure food safety standards are based on science, achieve the highest possible public health protections, and don’t impose unnecessary costs on consumers.

We’ve made a lot of progress. The PTIN has improved regulators’ capacity to understand and implement global standards, helping to minimize unnecessary differences in regulations and facilitate trade.

Nevertheless, certain kinds of barriers have expanded rapidly – for example, paperwork requirements that increase time, cost, and uncertainty for importing food without increasing consumer safety. A recent APEC report supported by the United States found that APEC economies require more than 80 different certificates, which hinders food trade and is viewed by more than half of businesses surveyed as the most burdensome requirement impacting food trade. Some GMA members must seek more than 5000 certificates per year, even for low-risk processed products. With requirements sometimes even impacting individual ingredients, the report notes the example of a frozen lasagna requiring up to two hundred pages of documentation for each shipment!

GMA members make the safe, affordable products consumers in the United States and around the world rely on every day. President Trump’s leadership will elevate APEC’s commitment to reducing unnecessary barriers that make our products less competitive in the Asia-Pacific.


Filed under: Global Commerce

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