The U.S. and EU will begin developing a transatlantic Free Trade Agreement next month with goals to eliminate all tariffs on trade, obtain improved market access and reduce or eliminate differences in regulations and standards.
Negotiations will be difficult, but U.S. agriculture has a lot to gain if the talks are successful. For example, the EU currently restricts imports of genetically modified crops and meat products produced with certain hormones.
Another issue being debated is immigration.
The Senate continues work on the immigration reform bill with the goal of completing work by the end of the month. But the bill may face even bigger challenges in the House.
Many republicans in the House say the current proposal does not do enough to crack down on border crossings and offers amnesty to millions of people already in the U.S. illegally. The speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has called the border security part of the Senate bill “laughable.”
According to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, more than 60 percent of foreign agricultural workers don’t have proper documentation. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the immigration reform bill would boost tax revenue by $175 billion over a decade by promoting a tax-paying labor-force expansion.