Illinois farmers visit French Embassy

By Ashley Rice

Illinois farmers were welcomed by the French Embassy to engage in a discussion of agricultural production and trade during the Illinois Farm Bureau Leaders to Washington trip.

With a population of nearly 67 million, France is the sixth-largest global exporter of agricultural and agri-food products.

In 2018, the U.S. predominantly imported wines, spirits and cheeses from France, while France primarily imported fruits, oilseeds and spirits from the U.S.

Since 2018, France has increased beef, pork and poultry exports, further increasing it’s need for livestock feed, specifically soybeans. The majority of France’s soybeans are imported from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina.

Notably, in the European Union (EU), France is the largest producer of cereals, and second-largest producer of meat and milk. Globally, France is the second-largest producer of wine.

Illinois farmers asked the embassy staff questions regarding the likelihood of the EU being more open to biotechnology and ethanol. In addition, farmers inquired about the odds of a trade deal between the U.S. and the EU happening in 2020.

Three recent U.S. and EU agreements include the Veterinarian Agreement (1998), the Wine Agreement (2006) and the Organic Agreement (2012).

Currently, the U.S. buys an estimated $23.2 billion in EU products, while the EU buys an estimated $13.8 billion in U.S. products.

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