Perdue Talks About Successful European Trip


Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently wrapped up a tour of Europe, speaking with officials from several different countries about a variety of issues, including trade. After stops in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, Perdue said the trip has been very productive…

“We’ve had very, I think the common diplomatic term, but I think even more so, very frank and direct discussions about restrictions the EU has placed on non-science based restrictions, and we’ve communicated those to all the player in the EU and we look forward to making progress on those issues.”

USDA announced it would be withdrawing the interim final rule under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, or GIPSA. Perdue talked with reporters about the decision during the conference call from Madrid, Spain…

“I want to assure you that USDA and GIPSA remain committed to fair trade practices and financial integrity and competitive markets.  I think the concern was is that this rule, a proposed, would lead to unnecessary and unproductive litigation, in many ways.  We believe that the initial Packers and Stockyards Act indicated that it should help in facilitating competition, not necessarily one-on-one litigation.”

Perdue’s goal moving forward is to make sure producers aren’t disadvantaged by unfair and uncompetitive rules. They’ll be having discussions with both producers and processors to make sure everyone is treated fairly.

Meanwhile, the European Union and the U.S. have been discussing a trade agreement for years. Perdue says non-science-based standards are holding up a potential deal with the EU…

“The things I communicated to all the members of the G-7 and the bi-laterals, as well as the EU commissioner, Mr. Hogan, was that we wanted to make trade deals on sound science discovery, and not perceived myths.  I also had the occasion in the UK to address that with Mr. Parrish and Secretary Gold regarding their disparaging of poultry.  Interestingly, they still refer to it as ‘bathed in chlorine’, which most of us know that is not a processing option that’s commonly used in the US today.  But, they still seem to be hiding behind sanitary and phyto-sanitary excuses.”

Perdue says those excuses are being used for “protectionist purposes.” The trip to Europe has shown him that there is a strong demand for American products in the EU…

“Well, I think we have had somewhat of a perception that Europeans don’t think that American food is healthy, wholesome and safe.  I find that more of a myth perpetrated more by the leadership than by the people on the street.  I think this was, again, validated in Spain, today.  There is a high demand for US-developed products.”

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, speaking from Madrid, Spain.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

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