While the United States had a $16 billion agricultural trade surplus with the rest of the world in 2015, it ran a record $12 billion trade deficit in farm and food products with the European Union (EU), up 15 percent from 2014. Thanks to strong American demand for the EU’s high-value products, and a relatively open market, the United States imported a record $25 billion in food and agricultural products from Europe in 2015. Meanwhile, U.S. exports to the EU declined four percent to just under $13 billion, largely as a result of low commodity prices and the strength of the U.S. dollar.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations, launched by the United States and the EU in June 2013, provide an opportunity for the United States to correct these imbalances. Tariff reductions in the EU could put U.S. exports on a more level playing field with other suppliers. Discussions related to regulatory barriers, in particular unjustified health and safety measures, could provide new access for U.S. exports. The T-TIP would also improve opportunities for EU exports, benefitting producers and consumers in both regions.