The American Soybean Association (ASA) is disappointed that the European Union has voted on a mandate to move forward with an EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that excludes agriculture. The EU is a critically important market for U.S. food exports, including soybeans.Soybeans exported to the EU in 2017 were valued at $1.6 billion. ASA applauded the initial decision to launch comprehensive negotiations between the U.S. and European Union in order to liberalize trade and investment in a variety of sectors.“We had high hopes that some of the longstanding concerns regarding the EU’s policies on agricultural biotechnology and on revising the EU’s pesticide laws would be addressed,” said Davie Stephens, Kentucky soy grower and ASA president. “With the EU now formally excluding ag, it will be difficult if not impossible to address these non-tariff barriers that severely inhibit trade between our countries.”ASA maintains that the EU approach to biotechnology, gene editing and pesticide regulation needs to be risk-based and consistent with international practice under the Codex Alimentarius (Codex), which is the foundation of internationally-accepted standards and guidance. The current and emerging EU regulatory approaches lack alignment with Codex, are based on hazard rather than risk–based assessments, and represent barriers to trade.ASA urges the U.S. Administration to push back on the EU and insist that these vital agriculture issues are addressed either in the context of an FTA or through bilateral discussions.