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EU commissioner says agriculture not on agenda for U.S. talks

European Commissioner

TOKYO (Reuters) – The European Union intends to keep agriculture off the agenda in its trade talks with the United States and continues to support rules-based, open and predictable international commerce, the EU’s agriculture commissioner said on Friday.

A free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan is the “benchmark and ceiling” for the EU’s negotiations with the United States for a trade pact, Phil Hogan said.

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Hogan, a former Irish government minister, also urged the United States to reverse tariffs on goods from China and the EU and return to a more “benign” system of global trade.

Agriculture should be excluded from negotiations with the United States,The fact that the European Union and Japan have a very good agreement will operate as the benchmark … to what is achievable between the EU and the United States.

Hogan said.

Hogan, who spoke to journalists at a press conference, is in Japan for a Group of 20 agriculture ministers’ meeting.

The EU indicated last month it is ready to start talks with the United States on only two areas: cutting tariffs on industrial goods and making it easier for companies to show products meet EU or U.S. standards.

This stance puts Brussels at loggerheads with Washington, which has insisted on including farm products in the talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is seeking better terms of trade with the EU, as well as China, Japan, Canada and Mexico.

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