Rep. Nunes, R-Calif., introduced the Agricultural Trade Facilitation Act that would establish Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) negotiating objectives for the on-going Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

Rep. Nunes represents a California district that encompasses all of Tulare County and about half of Fresno County and produces agricultural products -- including upland and extra-long staple cotton -- with a farm gate or gross value of about $5 billion annually. He is a member of the Ways & Means Committee and has long been a strong advocate for improved, consistent access to international markets.

His legislation addresses several key issues: (1) an SPS regime that strengthens the requirement that the application of measures is based on scientific evidence by requiring parties to make their risk assessments available and provide a science-based justification; (2) increase regulatory coherence and use of system-based approaches and allow imports of products if the system of the exporting party meets or exceeds the end-product standards of the importer; (3) require parties to carry out risk analysis in a timely manner; ensure that risk assessments are based on the most relevant scientific data; require the parties to consider the full range of risk management options; ensure that the measures are no more trade-restrictive than necessary to meet the intended purpose; and require effective risk communication; and (4) improve testing rules; require importing parties to use validated test methods; and provide importers the right to a confirmatory test with the right to appeal.

Rep. Nunes believes the TPP provides an important opportunity to work to harmonize export certification requirements and limit information requirements on export documents to that necessary for determining whether a product meets SPS standards. Given statements that this agreement is to be the model for “21st Century” Free Trade Agreements, Rep. Nunes said, “It is imperative that we get the strongest possible SPS provisions.”

Current supporters of the legislation include: the NCC, American Sheep Industry Assoc., California Citrus Mutual, National Chicken Council, California Poultry Federation, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, California Farm Bureau, National Milk Producers Federation and US Dairy Export Council.