While maintaining its support for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the European Union, the National Chicken Council joined 60 U.S. food and agricultural organizations to reiterate that any deal must include agriculture and that the Europen Union must address non-tariff trade barriers.

In a letter signed by 60 organizations sent Thursday to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the coalition said it is important that any FTA with the European Union be comprehensive and address impediments to trade in agricultural products.   NCC joined in sending a similar letter in January.

“We applaud continued statements by Administration officials confirming their intention to insist on such an outcome, but recent statements by EU officials suggest they are thinking differently,” the coalition wrote.

Press reports in connection with the recent approval of the FTA negotiations by the European Parliament have raised doubts about whether the European Union will be prepared to deal with sanitary and phytosanitary issues and other nontariff barriers, which have become the most important form of barrier to U.S. food and agricultural exports to the European Union.

“Unless these measures are addressed satisfactorily, the effort to achieve free trade in the agricultural sector will fail,” added the coalition.