U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) questioned U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer on March 12 on key barriers to trade for U.S. farmers and ranchers during a Senate Finance Committee hearing titled, “Approaching 25: The Road Ahead for the World Trade Organization.” (WTO)
Sen. Roberts and Ambassador Lighthizer discussed sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, which are used by other countries to discriminate against U.S. agricultural products and hinder market access for American farmers.
Roberts called on Lighthizer to press ahead with bilateral or even multilateral trade agreements in the absence of major multilateral agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership especially given the failure of the WTO ministerial conferences to resolve SPS challenges.
“The United States has stepped away from major multilateral agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and there has been a lack of outcomes from the WTO ministerial conferences, where many of the broad SPS issues are reviewed,” said Roberts. “Especially as it relates to the WTO agreement on SPS measures, do you see room for multilateral agreements to advance the U.S. trade agenda, and improve market access?”
For video of their discussion, click here.