Casey, Stabenow Introduce Bill to Help Stop Invasive Pests from Being Introduced to U.S. Soil
U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today introduced a bill to help decrease the risk of accidentally importing invasive pests or diseases. The Agriculture Smart Trade Act would ensure there is a plan to prevent invasive species from getting into the U.S. and aims to provide some assurance that the U.S. won't face unjustified trade barriers once a trade agreement is in place.
"Increased international trade means an increased risk of importing bugs and diseases that can have devastating effects," said Senator Casey. "This bill will help acknowledge the risk and put in place the best safeguards so that we can prevent the accidental introduction of these harmful pests."
"Any comprehensive trade policy must improve product safety and put American businesses and families first," said Stabenow. "This legislation places a premium on the health and safety of our nation's consumers and helps ensure that the agricultural sector of our economy remains strong and protected from invasive species."
The Agriculture Smart Trade Act would require the Administration within 90 days of starting formal negotiations with a potential trade partner, to send a report to Congress detailing potential invasive pests and disease that could pose a risk to U.S. agriculture. The bill also requires the Administration to disclose in the same report all sanitary and photosanitary trade barriers that could unduly restrict export markets for American commodities.
Specifically, the report will list:
all the domestic crops and livestock that could be impacted by invasive pests and diseases
a plan for preventing the introduction of invasive pests and diseases, including the estimated cost for implementing such a plan
all SPS measures that affect or could unjustifiably affect the export of U.S. agriculture commodities to the trading partner
an estimate the economic potential for U.S. exports if the trade agreement enters into force
an assessment of the effect of SPS measures imposed by the trading partner on the economic potential of U.S. exports
The bill has the support of United Fresh (a national association of fruit and vegetable growers and process) and the U.S. Apple Association.