Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking they work with the Colombian government to remove its unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements on certain pork imports. This unscientific trade barrier would cause U.S. pork producers not to realize the full economic benefits possible under the recently-passed Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
"All too often, foreign governments unfairly have blocked U.S products based on arbitrary guidelines," said Smith. "The recently passed agreement with Colombia presents a huge opportunity for U.S. pork producers, but the country's continuation of unscientific requirements on certain pork imports could cost tens of millions of dollars and nearly 1,000 direct jobs. It is vital science determines the import standards for all of our producers and I will continue to work with the Administration to reverse this harmful and baseless policy."
Colombia requires all chilled pork imports to be tested for trichinae, even though it does not test its own domestically produced pork. According to the International Commission on Trichinellosis, there is a 1 in 300 million chance of finding trichinae in the U.S. commercial food supply. These tests place an unnecessary and burdensome cost on U.S. pork producers when the risk for exposure is negligible.
Smith was a key supporter of the recently passed trade agreement with Colombia. Smith is working with both governments to ensure the removal of the testing requirement before the implementation of the agreement on May 15th. Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over trade policy in the U.S. House of Representatives.