* Farm lobby rejects complete liberalisation of EU/US trade
* Wants continued limits on food exports
By Hans-Edzard Busemann
BERLIN, March 26 A planned free trade agreement
between the European Union and United States should not
completely liberalise agricultural trade, the president of the
association of German farmers' association DBV said on Tuesday.
Trade talks must involve upper limits to exports to prevent
market disruption, Joachim Rukwied told Reuters.
Brussels and Washington hope to start negotiations in June
on a transatlantic free-trade agreement which would encompass
almost half the world's economy, and are seeking as broad a deal
as possible to deliver strong economic growth.
The negotiating mandate proposed by the European Commission,
which has kept its contents secret, must be approved by EU
governments before the talks can start and agricultural trade is
seen as a contentious issue.
Rukwied said he did not expect free trade to open the way
for hormone-treated U.S. meat or genetically-modified (GM) foods
Germany has an agricultural trade deficit with the United
States, the association calculates. Germany exported 1.5 billion
euros ($1.93 billion) of agricultural products to the U.S. in
2011 but in the same year imported 1.7 billion worth from the
United States, the association said.
Rukwied said he sees export opportunities for German food
such as dairy products and sausages to the United States.
The EU currently imports large volumes of feed grains from
South America; whether these could be replaced by U.S.-origin
cereals after the free trade agreement would depend on market
price, he said.